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List of largest known stars

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Below are lists of the largest stars currently known, ordered by radius and separated into categories by galaxy. The unit of measurement used is the radius of the Sun (approximately 695,700 km; 432,300 mi).[1]

The angular diameters of stars can be measured directly using stellar interferometry. Other methods can use lunar occultations or from eclipsing binaries, which can be used to test indirect methods of finding stellar radii. Only a few useful supergiant stars can be occulted by the Moon, including Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A). Examples of eclipsing binaries are Epsilon Aurigae (Almaaz), VV Cephei, and V766 Centauri (HR 5171). Angular diameter measurements can be inconsistent because the boundary of the very tenuous atmosphere (opacity) differs depending on the wavelength of light in which the star is observed.

Uncertainties remain with the membership and order of the lists, especially when deriving various parameters used in calculations, such as stellar luminosity and effective temperature. Often stellar radii can only be expressed as an average or be within a large range of values. Values for stellar radii vary significantly in different sources and for different observation methods.

All the sizes stated in these lists have inaccuracies and may be disputed. The lists are still a work in progress and parameters are prone to change.

Caveats

Various issues exist in determining accurate radii of the largest stars, which in many cases do display significant errors. The following lists are generally based on various considerations or assumptions; these include:

  • Stellar radii or diameters are usually derived only approximately using Stefan–Boltzmann law for the deduced stellar luminosity and effective surface temperature.
  • Stellar distances, and their errors, for most stars, remain uncertain or poorly determined.
  • Many supergiant stars have extended atmospheres, and many are within opaque dust shells, making their true effective temperatures and surfaces highly uncertain.[citation needed]
  • Many extended supergiant atmospheres also significantly change in size over time, regularly or irregularly pulsating over several months or years as variable stars. This makes adopted luminosities poorly known and may significantly change the quoted radii.
  • Other direct methods for determining stellar radii rely on lunar occultations or from eclipses in binary systems. This is only possible for a very small number of stars.
  • Most distance estimates for red supergiants come from stellar cluster or association membership, because it is difficult to calculate accurate distances for red supergiants that are not part of any cluster or association.
  • In these lists are some examples of extremely distant extragalactic stars, which may have slightly different properties and natures than the currently largest known stars in the Milky Way. For example, some red supergiants in the Magellanic Clouds are suspected to have slightly different limiting temperatures and luminosities. Such stars may exceed accepted limits by undergoing large eruptions or changing their spectral types over just a few months (or potentially years).[2][3]

Lists

The following lists show the largest known stars in five different categories based on the host galaxy. The lists currently include one for the Milky Way, one for the Magellanic Clouds, one for M31 and M33, one for other galaxies within the Local Group, and one for galaxies outside the Local Group.

Milky Way

This list has recently been trimmed, and in the future will be reworked.

List of the largest known stars in the Milky Way[a]
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Method[b] Notes
Orbit of Saturn 2,0472,049.9[4][c] Reported for reference
UY Scuti 1,708±192[5] AD The radius of UY Sct is more extreme than what current stellar evolution models predict. One paper mentions this extremity, and the reason for it is not yet clear.[6]
V354 Cephei 1,520±304[7] L/Teff
The above radii are larger than what stellar evolution theory predicts, and are thus potentially unreliable
Theoretical limit of star size (Milky Way) ~1,500[7] This value comes from the rough average radii of the three largest stars studied in the paper. It is consistent with the largest possible stellar radii predicted from the current evolutionary theory, and it is believed that stars above this radius would be too unstable and simply do not form.[7]
Reported for reference
VY Canis Majoris 1,420±120[8] AD
KY Cygni 1,420±284(–2,850±570)[7] L/Teff
AH Scorpii 1,411±124[5] AD
VX Sagittarii 1,335±215[9] L/Teff
Westerlund 1 W237 (Westerlund 1 BKS B) 1,241±70[10] L/Teff
BC Cygni 1,230.27[11]1,140±228[7] L/Teff A more detailed but older study gives values of 1,081 R (8561,375) for the year 2000, and 1,303 R (1,0211,553) for the year 1900.[12]
IRC -10414 ~1,200[13] L/Teff
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,190±238(–1,940±388)[7] L/Teff
GCIRS 7 1,170±60[14]1,368[15] AD
Westerlund 1 W26 (Westerlund 1 BKS AS) 1,165±581,221±120[10] L/Teff
Orbit of Jupiter 1,114.51,115.8[4][c] Reported for reference
RT Carinae 1,090±218[7] L/Teff
V396 Centauri 1,070±214[7] L/Teff
CK Carinae 1,060±212[7] L/Teff
V602 Carinae 1,050±165[16] AD
VV Cephei 1,050[17] AD
KW Sagittarii 1,009±142[5] AD
μ Cephei (Herschel's Garnet Star) 972±228[18] AD
IX Carinae 920±184[7] L/Teff
AZ Cygni 911+57
−50
[19]
AD
Westerlund 1 W20 (Westerlund 1 BKS D) 858±48[10] L/Teff
BI Cygni 851.14[11]1,240±248[7] L/Teff
BO Carinae 790±158[7] L/Teff
S Persei 780±156(–1,230±246)[7] L/Teff
SU Persei 780±156[7] L/Teff
RS Persei 770±30[20] AD
V355 Cephei 770±154[7] L/Teff
Betelgeuse (α Orionis) 764+116
−62
[21]
? Tenth brightest star in the night sky.[22]
HD 303250 750±150[7] L/Teff
Westerlund 1 W75 (Westerlund 1 BKS E) 722±36[10] L/Teff
V648 Cassiopeiae 710±142[7] L/Teff
V528 Carinae 700±140[7] L/Teff
Antares (α Scorpii) 680[23] AD Fourteenth brightest star in the night sky.[22]
RW Cygni 676.08[11]980±196[7] L/Teff
HD 95687 674±109[16] AD
6 Geminorum (BU Geminorum) 670±134[7] L/Teff
V441 Persei 650±130[7] L/Teff
TZ Cassiopeiae 645.65[11]800±160[7] L/Teff
3XMM J174347.4-292309 640[24] ?
V349 Carinae 640±128[7] L/Teff
NO Aurigae 630±126[7] L/Teff
V1749 Cygni 620±124(–1,040±208)[7] L/Teff
TV Geminorum ~620710[25] L/Teff
BU Persei 620±124[7] L/Teff
W Persei 620±124[7] L/Teff
V589 Cassiopeiae 610±122[7] L/Teff
U Arietis 610±125[26] AD
MZ Cassiopeiae 600±120[7] L/Teff
V419 Cephei 590±118[7] L/Teff
V356 Cephei 590±118[7] L/Teff
119 Tauri (CE Tauri) 587±85593±86[27] AD
4U 1954+31 586+188
−127
[28]
L/Teff
GU Cephei 570±114[7] L/Teff
V361 Carinae 540±108[7] L/Teff
YZ Persei 524±175[29]540±108[7] AD & L/Teff
V774 Cassiopeiae 520±104[7] L/Teff
T Persei 510±20[20] AD
V384 Puppis 500±100(–850±170)[7] L/Teff
HR Carinae B 500±150[30] AD
RT Capricorni 490±70[31] AD
BS Aurigae 470±110[31] AD
V838 Monocerotis 464[32]–730[33] ? & AD
AD Persei 457.09[11] L/Teff
V910 Centauri 440±88[7] L/Teff
AW Aurigae 440±100[31] AD
3XMM J185210.0+001205 430[24] ?
NR Vulpeculae 426.58[11]980±196[7] L/Teff
V778 Cassiopeiae 420±84[7] L/Teff
Unurgunite (σ Canis Majoris) 420±84[7] L/Teff
V810 Centauri 420[34] L/Teff
V634 Cassiopeiae 410±82[7] L/Teff
V809 Cassiopeiae 410±82[7] L/Teff
PR Persei 405±137[29] AD
V439 Persei 380±76[7] L/Teff
V403 Persei 380±76[7] L/Teff
Westerlund 1 W243 (Westerlund 1 BKS G) 376.9[35] ?
BD+59 274 360±72[7] L/Teff
HD 17958 360±72[7] L/Teff
V362 Aurigae 351±159[29]500±100[7] AD & L/Teff
V4650 Sagittarii 350[36] ?
V466 Cassiopeiae 331.13[11]380±76[7] L/Teff
FZ Persei 323.59[11] L/Teff
Orbit of Mars 322323.1[4][c] Reported for reference
V743 Cassiopeiae 322±113[29] AD
FG Vulpeculae 321±129[29] AD
HD 306799 320±64[7] L/Teff
Z Scorpii 320±100[26] AD
5 Lacertae (V412 Lacertae) 319.2+26.6
−32.0
[37]
AD
Pistol Star (V4647 Sagittarii) 306[36] ?
V368 Andromedae 303.12±32.05[38] AD
V550 Persei 301±99[29] AD
R Doradus (P Doradus) 298±21[39] AD
BD+28 697 296.93±41.26[38] AD
BD+59 372 290±58[7] L/Teff
Rasalgethi (α Herculis) 284±60 (264303)[40] L/Teff
ο1 Canis Majoris 280±56[7] L/Teff
41 Geminorum 266±82[29] AD
HD 9366 254±73[29] AD
V424 Lacertae 239±80[29]260±52[7] AD & L/Teff
HD 207119 235±92[29] AD
SW Cephei 234.42[11] L/Teff
Cygnus OB2 #12 229[41] L/Teff
HD 4817 227±73[29] AD
HR Carinae A 220±60[30] AD
Wezen (δ Canis Majoris) 215±66[42] AD Thirty-sixth brightest star in the night sky.[22]
Orbit of Earth (~1 AU) 214[4][c] Reported for reference
HD 11092 214±56[29] AD
AE Trianguli 210.18±15.09[38] AD
CY Canum Venaticorum 208.23±13.07[38] AD
ZZ Canis Minoris 204.16±23.68[38] AD
Deneb (α Cygni) 203±17[43] ? Eighteenth brightest star in the night sky.[22]
HD 205349 200±40[7] L/Teff
HD 236947 200±84[29] AD
The following stars with sizes below 200 R are shown for comparison.
Orbit of Venus 158.6[4][c] Reported for reference
Orbit of Mercury 82.984.6[4][c] Reported for reference
Vega (α Lyrae) 2.726±0.006 × 2.418±0.012[44] Fifth brightest star in the night sky.[22]
Reported for reference
Sun 1 The largest object in the Solar System.
Reported for reference

Magellanic Clouds

Coming soon...

M31 and M33

Coming soon...

Other galaxies (within the Local Group)

List of the largest known stars in other galaxies (within the Local Group)
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Galaxy Method[d] Notes
Sextans A 10 995±130[45] Sextans A L/Teff
Sextans A 5 870±145[45] Sextans A L/Teff
Sextans A 7 710±100[45] Sextans A L/Teff
IC 10 3 685±90[45] IC 10 L/Teff
WLM 14 610±80[45] WLM L/Teff
Sextans B 1 565±70[45] Sextans B L/Teff
IC 1613 2 560±70[45] IC 1613 L/Teff
WLM 12 430±70[45] WLM L/Teff
IC 10 5 420±50[45] IC 10 L/Teff
Sextans B 2 405±90[45] Sextans B L/Teff
WLM 13 380±50[45] WLM L/Teff
Sextans A 6 350±40[45] Sextans A L/Teff
Pegasus 1 340±50[45] Pegasus Dwarf L/Teff
Sextans A 4 335±40[45] Sextans A L/Teff
WLM 11 310±50[45] WLM L/Teff
IC 1613 1 300±40[45] IC 1613 L/Teff
IC 10 2 280±30[45] IC 10 L/Teff
Pegasus 2 260±40[45] Pegasus Dwarf L/Teff
Sextans A 8 260±60[45] Sextans A L/Teff
Sextans A 9 230±50[45] Sextans A L/Teff
IC 10 4 200±25[45] IC 10 L/Teff
IC 10 1 165±60[45] IC 10 L/Teff
IC 10 6 160±25[45] IC 10 L/Teff
Phoenix 3 90±15[45] Phoenix Dwarf L/Teff

Outside the Local Group

List of the largest known stars in galaxies outside the Local Group
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Galaxy Group Method[e] Notes
NGC 2363-V1 194356[46] NGC 2363 M81 Group ?

Notes

  1. ^ Currently only contains radii that are stated in the cited papers
  2. ^ Methods for calculating the radius:
  3. ^ a b c d e f At the J2000 epoch
  4. ^ Methods for calculating the radius:
  5. ^ Methods for calculating the radius:

References

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See also

External links