List of largest known stars

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Not to be confused with List of most massive stars.
The 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 of the largest stars
Rank Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
1 UY Scuti 1,708[2] Error in size determination: ±192 solar radii. At the smallest, it would have a size similar to VX Sagittarii (see below)
2 NML Cygni 1,650[3] NML Cyg is an unusual 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 1,640 to 2,250
3 PZ Cassiopeiae 1,565 [4] [5]
4 Westerlund 1-26 1,555[6] [7][8] Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not.
5 WOH G64 1,540[9] 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 VX Sagittarii 1,520[10] VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range and varies significantly in size.
7 VV Cephei A 1,475 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.
8 RW Cephei 1,435 [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 size are just estimates.
9 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.[11][12]
10 AH Scorpii 1,411[2] 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.
11 KY Cygni 1,403[4]
12 HR 5171 A 1,316[13] HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary.
13 KW Sagittarii 1,235[2][4]
14 BC Cygni 1,140[4]
15 V354 Cephei 1,104.5[10][4]
16 RT Carinae 1,090[4]
17 BI Cygni 1,078[10][4]
18 Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 1,075 [14] 9th-brightest star in the night sky.
19 V396 Centauri 1,070[4]
20 CK Carinae 1,060[4]
21 Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 1,035[15] [4]
22 S Persei 1,005[4] In the Perseus Double Cluster
23 RS Persei 1,000[4] In the Perseus Double Cluster
24 NR Vulpeculae 980[4]
24 RW Cygni 980[4]
26 GCIRS 7 960[16]
27 Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 883
28 Theta Muscae 878
29 V602 Carinae 860[4]
30 V1749 Cygni 830[4]
31 TZ Cassiopeiae 800[4]
32 IX Carinae 790[4]
33 SU Persei 780[4] In the Perseus Double Cluster
34 TV Geminorum 770[4]
35 T Cephei 742
36 V382 Carinae 700 Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of star.
37 V509 Cassiopeiae 650 Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
38 CE Tauri ("Ruby Star")[17] 608 Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
39 V355 Cephei 535[10][4]
40 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
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 460
Rho Cassiopeiae 450 Yellow hypergiant
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 400[18] 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
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[19] Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realized to be a binary system
Peony Nebula Star 100 Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Rigel A (Beta Orionis A) 78 7th-brightest star in the night sky.
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 65 Second brightest star in the night sky.
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.2[20]
R136a1 35.4 Also on 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

See also[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 u 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. ^ 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:1309.4086 [astro-ph.SR].
  7. ^ 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.  edit
  8. ^ 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.  edit
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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].
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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 (5): 1007. arXiv:0808.0641. Bibcode:2008PASJ...60.1007C. doi:10.1093/pasj/60.5.1007. 
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ "Big and Giant Stars"
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The HST Treasury Program on Eta Carinae". 2003-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  20. ^ 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]