List of largest known stars

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Not to be confused with List of most massive stars.
The red hypergiant star UY Scuti seen in visible light.

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[edit]

List of the largest stars
Star Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Notes Ref.
UY Scuti 1,708 Margin of error in size determination: ± 192 solar radii. At its smallest, its size would be similar to that of VX Sagittarii (see below). [2]
NML Cygni 1,650 NML Cyg is an unusual hypergiant star surrounded by a circumstellar nebula and is polluted by severe dust extinction. The quoted size is the most likely value; the true range is between 1,642 to 2,775. [3]
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,565 PZ Cas is located in a region with heavy dust extinction. The quoted size is the average size parameter, the true value is from 1,340-1,940. [4][5]
WOH G64 1,540 This would be the largest star in the LMC, but is unusual in position and motion and might still be a foreground halo giant. [6]
Westerlund 1-26 1,530 Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not. [7]
VX Sagittarii 1,520 VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range and varies significantly in size. [8]
VV Cephei A 1,050-1900 VV Cep A is a highly distorted star in a binary system, losing mass to its B-type companion VV Cephei B for at least part of its orbit.
RW Cephei 1,435 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 size are just estimates.
VY Canis Majoris 1,420 Once thought to be a red hypergiant star so large that it contradicted stellar evolutionary theory, improved measurements and estimates have brought it down to size. [9][10]
KY Cygni 1,420 KY Cygni is located in a region with heavy dust extinction, thus making it hard to determine its size. The quoted size is the value consistent with stellar evolutionary models, the true range may be larger. [4]
AH Scorpii 1,411 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. [2]
HR 5171 A 1,316 HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary. [11]
KW Sagittarii 1,235 [2][4]
IRC-10414 1,200 [12]
BC Cygni 1,140 [4]
V354 Cephei 1,104.5 [4][8]
RT Carinae 1,090 [4]
BI Cygni 1,078 [4][8]
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 1,075 Ninth brightest star in the night sky. [13]
V396 Centauri 1,070 [4]
CK Carinae 1,060 [4]
Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 1,035 [4][14]
S Persei 1,005 In the Perseus Double Cluster. [4]
RS Persei 1,000 In the Perseus Double Cluster. [4]
NR Vulpeculae 980 [4]
RW Cygni 980 [4]
GCIRS 7 960 [15]
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 883
Theta Muscae 878
V602 Carinae 860 [4]
V1749 Cygni 830 [4]
IX Carinae 790 [4]
SU Persei 780 In the Perseus Double Cluster [4]
TV Geminorum 770 [4]
T Cephei 742
V382 Carinae 700 Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of star.
V509 Cassiopeiae 650 Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
TZ Cassiopeiae 645
CE Tauri ("Ruby Star") 608 Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter. [16]
V355 Cephei 535 [4][8]
R Leporis ("Hind's Crimson Star") 500 One of the largest carbon stars existent in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The following well-known stars are listed for the purpose of comparison.
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Notes Ref.
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 460
Rho Cassiopeiae 450 A yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 400 Prototype Mira variable [17]
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.
R Doradus 370 Star with the second largest apparent size after the Sun.
The Pistol Star 306 Blue hypergiant, among the most massive and luminous stars known.
S Doradus 240 Prototype S Doradus variable
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 215 One of the coolest and reddest known stars.
Deneb (Alpha Cygni) 203 19th brightest star in the night sky.
Eta Carinae A (Tseen She) 140 Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realized to be a binary system [18]
Peony Nebula Star 100 Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Rigel A (Beta Orionis A) 78 Seventh brightest star in the night sky.
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 65 Second brightest star in the night sky.
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.2 [19]
R136a1 35.4 Also on the list as the most massive and luminous star known.
HDE226868 21 The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is 500,000 times smaller than the star.
VV Cephei B 10 The B-type main sequence companion of VV Cephei A.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.  edit
  2. ^ a b c 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.  edit
  3. ^ 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.  edit
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t 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.  edit
  5. ^ Kusuno, K.; Asaki, Y.; Imai, H.; Oyama, T. (2013). "Distance and Proper Motion Measurement of the Red Supergiant, Pz Cas, in Very Long Baseline Interferometry H2O Maser Astrometry". The Astrophysical Journal 774 (2): 107. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/774/2/107.  edit
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Wright, N. J.; Wesson, R.; Drew, J. E.; Barentsen, G.; Barlow, M. J.; Walsh, J. R.; Zijlstra, A.; Drake, J. J.; Eisloffel, J.; Farnhill, H. J. (16 October 2013). "The ionized nebula surrounding the red supergiant W26 in Westerlund 1". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 437 (1): L1–L5. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slt127. 
  8. ^ a b c d Nicolas Mauron; Eric Josselin (2010). "The mass-loss rates of red supergiants and the de Jager prescription". arXiv:1010.5369 [astro-ph.SR].
  9. ^ 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.  edit
  10. ^ 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 CMa with VERA". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (Publications Astronomical Society of Japan) 60 (5): 1007. arXiv:0808.0641. Bibcode:2008PASJ...60.1007C. doi:10.1093/pasj/60.5.1007. 
  11. ^ o. Chesneau; a. Meilland; e. Chapellier; f. Millour; a.m. Van Genderen; y. Naze; n. Smith; a. Spang; Et Al. (2014). "The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A: Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase". Astronomy & Astrophysics. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201322421.  edit
  12. ^ Bibcode2014MNRAS.437..843G
  13. ^ Mohamed, S.; MacKey, J.; Langer, N. (2012). "3D simulations of Betelgeuse's bow shock". Astronomy & Astrophysics 541: A1. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201118002.  edit
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Paumard, T.; Pfuhl, O.; Martins, F.; Kervella, P.; Ott, T.; Pott, J.-U.; Le Bouquin, J. B.; Breitfelder, J.; Gillessen, S.; Perrin, G.; Burtscher, L.; Haubois, X.; Brandner, W. (2014). "GCIRS 7, a pulsating M1 supergiant at the Galactic centre. Physical properties and age". Astronomy & Astrophysics 568 (85): A85. arXiv:1406.5320. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201423991. 
  16. ^ "Big and Giant Stars". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.eso.org/~mwittkow/publications/conferences/SPIECWo5491199.pdf
  18. ^ "The HST Treasury Program on Eta Carinae". Etacar.umn.edu. 2003-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  19. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]