List of largest known stars
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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
|Star name||Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
|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).|
|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||1,190-1,9409||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.|
|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.|
|Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star")||65012-1,4209|
|S Persei||780-1,2309||In the Perseus Double Cluster|
|RS Persei||1,0009||In the Perseus Double Cluster|
|Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)||95013|
|Antares (Alpha Scorpii)||883|
|SU Persei||7809||In the Perseus Double Cluster|
|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")14||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)||40015||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)||85–19516||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)||44.217|
|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|
- Lists of stars
- List of most massive stars
- List of most luminous stars
- TrES-4, one of the largest known planets
- Levesque, E. M.; Massey, P.; Olsen, K. A. G.; Plez, B.; Meynet, G.; Maeder, A. (2006). "The Effective Temperatures and Physical Properties of Magellanic Cloud Red Supergiants: The Effects of Metallicity". The Astrophysical Journal 645 (2): 1102. arXiv:astro-ph/0603596. Bibcode:2006ApJ...645.1102L. doi:10.1086/504417.
- Arroyo-Torres, B.; Wittkowski, M.; Marcaide, J. M.; Hauschildt, P. H. (2013). "The atmospheric structure and fundamental parameters of the red supergiants AH Scorpii, UY Scuti, and KW Sagittarii". Astronomy & Astrophysics 554: A76. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201220920.
- Zhang, B.; Reid, M. J.; Menten, K. M.; Zheng, X. W.; Brunthaler, A. (2012). "The distance and size of the red hypergiant NML Cygni from VLBA and VLA astrometry". Astronomy & Astrophysics 544: A42. arXiv:1207.1850. Bibcode:2012A&A...544A..42Z. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201219587.
- Emily M. Levesque, Philip Massey, Bertrand Plez, and Knut A. G. Olsen (June 2009). "The Physical Properties of the Red Supergiant WOH G64: The Largest Star Known?". Astronomical Journal 137 (6): 4744. arXiv:0903.2260. Bibcode:2009AJ....137.4744L. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/137/6/4744.
- Wright, Nicholas J.; Roger Wesson; Drew, Janet E.; Geert Barentsen; Barlow, Michael J.; Walsh, Jeremy R.; Albert Zijlstra; Drake, Jeremy J. et al. (2013). "The Ionized Nebula surrounding the Red Supergiant W26 in Westerlund 1". arXiv:1309.4086v1 astro-ph.SR.
- Clark, J. S.; Ritchie, B. W.; Negueruela, I.; Crowther, P. A.; Damineli, A.; Jablonski, F. J.; Langer, N. (2011). "A VLT/FLAMES survey for massive binaries in Westerlund 1". Astronomy & Astrophysics 531: A28. arXiv:1105.0776. Bibcode:2011A&A...531A..28C. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201116990.
- Clark, J. S.; Ritchie, B. W.; Negueruela, I. (2010). "A serendipitous survey for variability amongst the massive stellar population of Westerlund 1". Astronomy and Astrophysics 514: A87. arXiv:1003.5107. Bibcode:2010A&A...514A..87C. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200913820.
- Nicolas Mauron; Eric Josselin (2010). "The mass-loss rates of red supergiants and the de Jager prescription". arXiv:1010.5369 astro-ph.SR.
- Levesque, E. M.; Massey, P.; Olsen, K. A. G.; Plez, B.; Josselin, E.; Maeder, A.; Meynet, G. (2005). "The Effective Temperature Scale of Galactic Red Supergiants: Cool, but Not as Cool as We Thought". The Astrophysical Journal 628 (2): 973. arXiv:astro-ph/0504337. Bibcode:2005ApJ...628..973L. doi:10.1086/430901.
- Wittkowski, M.; Hauschildt, P. H.; Arroyo-Torres, B.; Marcaide, J. M. (2012). "Fundamental properties and atmospheric structure of the red supergiant VY Canis Majoris based on VLTI/AMBER spectro-interferometry". Astronomy & Astrophysics 540: L12. arXiv:1203.5194. Bibcode:2012A&A...540L..12W. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201219126.
- Choi, Yoon Kyung; Hirota, Tomoya; Honma, Mareki; Kobayashi, Hideyuki; Bushimata, Takeshi; Imai, Hiroshi; Iwadate, Kenzaburo; Jike, Takaaki; Kameno, Seiji; Kameya, Osamu; Kamohara, Ryuichi; Kan-Ya, Yukitoshi; Kawaguchi, Noriyuki; Kijima, Masachika; Kim, Mi Kyoung; Kuji, Seisuke; Kurayama, Tomoharu; Manabe, Seiji; Maruyama, Kenta; Matsui, Makoto; Matsumoto, Naoko; Miyaji, Takeshi; Nagayama, Takumi; Nakagawa, Akiharu; Nakamura, Kayoko; Oh, Chung Sik; Omodaka, Toshihiro; Oyama, Tomoaki; Sakai, Satoshi; Sasao, Tetsuo; Sato, Katsuhisa; Sato, Mayumi; Shibata, Katsunori M.; Tamura, Yoshiaki; Tsushima, Miyuki; Yamashita, Kazuyoshi (2008). "Distance to VY VMa with VERA". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (Publications Astronomical Society of Japan) 60: 1007. arXiv:0808.0641. Bibcode:2008PASJ...60.1007C.
- Tsuji, Takashi (2000). "Water in Emission in the Infrared Space Observatory Spectrum of the Early M Supergiant Star μ Cephei". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 540 (2): 99–102. arXiv:astro-ph/0008058. Bibcode:2000ApJ...540L..99T. doi:10.1086/312879.
- Graham M. Harper et al. (2008). "A NEW VLA-HIPPARCOS DISTANCE TO BETELGEUSE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS". The Astronomical Journal 135 (4): 1430–1440. Bibcode:2008AJ....135.1430H. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/135/4/1430.
- "Big and Giant Stars"
- "The HST Treasury Program on Eta Carinae". Etacar.umn.edu. 2003-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Richichi, A.; Roccatagliata, V. (2005). "Aldebaran's angular diameter: how well do we know it?". Astronomy and Astrophysics 433: 305–312. arXiv:astro-ph/0502181. Bibcode:2005A&A...433..305R. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20041765.
- Giant Stars An interactive website comparing the Earth and the Sun to some of the largest known stars
- BBC News Three largest stars identified
- Universe Today What is the Biggest Star in the Universe?