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WOH G64 Particular.jpg
Artist's rendition of WOH G64
Observation data
Epoch J2000,0      Equinox J2000,0
Constellation Dorado (LMC)
Right ascension 04h 55m 10.49s
Declination −68° 20′ 29.08″
Apparent magnitude (V) 18.46
Spectral type M5I[1]
Apparent magnitude (K) 6.85
Radial velocity (Rv) ~300 km/s
Distance 163,000 ly
(50,000 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) -8.9[1]
Mass ~16-22[citation needed] M
Radius 1,540[1] - 1,730[2] R
Luminosity 2.8×105[1][2] L
Surface gravity (log g) 0.5[1] cgs
Temperature ~3,400[1] K
Other designations
WOH G64, 2MASS J04551048-6820298
Database references

WOH G64[3] is a red hypergiant star in the Large Magellanic Cloud satellite galaxy in the southern constellation of Dorado. It is 168,000 light years away from Earth and is one of the largest known stars with a radius 1,540 times that of the Sun,[4] or about 1.07 billion kilometres (7.14 AU), corresponding to a volume some 3.65 billion times bigger than the Sun. If placed at the center of the Solar System, the star's surface would engulf Jupiter.


The strong mass loss of WOH G64 has created a torus-shaped cloud roughly a light year in diameter[2] with a mass of 3 solar masses. The cloud may have been produced by massive outbursts of the star a few million years ago, similar to Eta Carinae's Homunculus Nebula. WOH G64's location within the outskirts of the LMC suggests that this star does not directly interact with its interstellar environment[citation needed].

The star was discovered in the 1970s by Westerlund, Olander and Hedin. Like NML Cygni, the "WOH" in the star's name comes from the names of its three discoverers, but in this case refers to a whole catalogue of giant and supergiant stars in the LMC.[5] Westerlund also discovered another notable cool hypergiant star, namely Westerlund 1-26, found in the massive super star cluster Westerlund 1 in the constellation Ara, which also has the same size and characteristics as that of WOH G64.

The combination of the star's temperature and luminosity places it at the upper right corner of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. The star's evolved evolutionary state means that it can no longer hold on to its atmosphere due to low density, high radiation pressure, and the relatively opaque products of thermonuclear fusion. The intervening dust clouds makes the study of the star very difficult. It may be even possible that it has a bright hot companion,[1] however there has been no confirmation of this observation.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Levesque, E. M.; Massey, P.; Plez, B.; Olsen, K. A. G. (2009). "The Physical Properties of the Red Supergiant Woh G64: The Largest Star Known?". The Astronomical Journal 137 (6): 4744. arXiv:0903.2260. Bibcode:2009AJ....137.4744L. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/137/6/4744.  edit
  2. ^ a b c Ohnaka, K.; Driebe, T.; Hofmann, K. H.; Weigelt, G.; Wittkowski, M. (2009). "Resolving the dusty torus and the mystery surrounding LMC red supergiant WOH G64". Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 4: 454. doi:10.1017/S1743921308028858.  edit
  3. ^ Westerlund, B. E.; Olander, N.; Hedin, B. (1981). "Supergiant and giant M type stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud". Astronomy & Astrophysics Suppl. Ser. 43: 267–295. Bibcode:1981A&AS...43..267W. 
  4. ^ Levesque, E. M. "WOH G64: The Largest Star Known?". Astronomical Journal. arXiv:0903.2260. Bibcode:2009AJ....137.4744L. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/137/6/4744. 
  5. ^ Bibcode1981A&AS...43..267W