List of largest known stars

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Below is a list of the largest known stars by radius. The unit of measurement used is the radius of the Sun (approximately 695,500 kilometers, or 432,450 miles).

The exact order of this list is not complete, nor is it perfectly defined:

  • There are sometimes high uncertainties in derived values and sizes;
  • The distances to most of these stars are uncertain to differing degrees and this uncertainty affects the size measurements;
  • All the stars in this list have extended atmospheres, many are embedded in mostly opaque dust shells or disks, and most pulsate, such that their radii are not well defined;
  • There are theoretical reasons for expecting that no stars in our galaxy are larger than approximately 1,500 times the sun, based on evolutionary models and the Hayashi instability zone. The exact limit depends on the metallicity of the star, so for example supergiants in the Magellanic Clouds have slightly different limiting temperature and luminosity. Stars exceeding the limit have been seen to undergo large eruptions and to change their spectral type over just a few months;
  • A survey of the Magellanic Clouds has catalogued most of the red supergiants and 44 of them are larger than the 700 solar radii cutoff point of this table, with the largest at 1,200-1,300.1

List

List of the largest stars
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Notes
UY Scuti 1,7082 Error in size determination: ±192 solar radii. At the smallest, it would have a size similar to VX Sagittarii (see below).
NML Cygni 1,6503
WOH G64 1,5404 This would be the largest star in the LMC, but is unusual in position and motion and might still be a foreground halo giant.
Westerlund 1-26 1,530-1,5805(–2,544) 67 Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not.
VX Sagittarii 1,5208 VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range and varies significantly in size.
KY Cygni 1,420–2,850 9 The upper estimate is due to an unusual K band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error. The lower estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models.
VY Canis Majoris 1,420 Once thought to be a star so large that it contradicted stellar evolutionary theory, improved measurements have brought it down to size.1011
AH Scorpii 1,287-1,5352 AH Sco is variable by nearly 3 magnitudes in the visual range, and an estimated 20% in total luminosity. The variation in diameter is not clear because the temperature also varies.
RW Cephei 1,260–1,610 citation needed RW Cep is variable both in brightness (by at least a factor of 3) and spectral type (observed from G8 to M), thus probably also in diameter. Because the spectral type and temperature at maximum luminosity are not known, the quoted sizes are just estimates.
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,190-1,94091,260-1,34012 The largest estimate is due to an unusual K band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error. The lowest estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models, and the intermediate ones have been obtained refining the distance to this star, and thus its parameters.
VV Cephei A 1,050–1,900 VV Cep A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary for at least part of its orbit.
HR 5171 A 1,056–1,57513 HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary.
KW Sagittarii 1,0092-1,4609
Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 65014-1,4209
BI Cygni 9168-1,2409
V354 Cephei 6908-1,5209
S Persei 780-1,2309 In the Perseus Double Cluster
BC Cygni 1,1409
RT Carinae 1,0909
V396 Centauri 1,0709
CK Carinae 1,0609
V1749 Cygni 620-1,0409
RS Persei 1,0009 In the Perseus Double Cluster
NR Vulpeculae 9809
RW Cygni 9809
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 95015
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 883
V602 Carinae 8609
TZ Cassiopeiae 8009
IX Carinae 7909
SU Persei 7809 In the Perseus Double Cluster
TV Geminorum 7709
V355 Cepheus 3008-7709
V382 Carinae 700 Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of star.
The following well-known stars are listed for the purpose of comparison.
CE Tauri ("Ruby Star")16 608 Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 460
Rho Cassiopeiae 450 Yellow hypergiant
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 40017 Prototype Mira variable
V838 Monocerotis 380 Once topped to the list as one of the largest known stars, after experiencing a nova outburst it gradually decreased in size
The Pistol Star 306 Blue hypergiant, among the most massive and luminous stars known.
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 215 One of the coolest and reddest known stars.
Eta Carinae (Tseen She) 85–19518 Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realised to be a binary system
Peony Nebula Star 100 Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Rigel (Beta Orionis) 78
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 65 Second brightest star in the night sky.
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.219
R136a1 35.4 Also on record as the most massive and luminous star known.
HDE226868 20-22 The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is 500,000 times smaller than the star.
VV Cephei B 10

See also

References

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