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List of largest stars

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Below is a list of the largest stars so far discovered, ordered by radius. The unit of measurement used is the radius of the Sun (695,700 km; 432,288 mi).

Caveats

UY Scuti as seen in visible light.

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 the Milky Way are larger than approximately 1,500 times the Sun (roughly 3,715 K and Mbol = −9), based on evolutionary models. 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;[1] while Humphreys et al calculates that the real unexceedable limit on the maximum radius of a star is ~2,600 R.
  • A survey of the Magellanic Clouds has catalogued most of the red supergiants and 50 of them are larger than the 700 R (490,000,000 km; 3.3 AU; 300,000,000 mi) cutoff point of this table, with the largest at 1,200–1,300.[2]
  • Another survey on the star cluster Westerlund 1 revealed that there are several red supergiant or red hypergiant stars that have a large physical extent of more than 2,000 R, with only one of them, Westerlund 1-26, in this list.[3]

List

List of the largest stars
Star name Best given radius in Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Notes
UY Scuti 1,708 ± 192[4] Margin of error in size determination: ± 192 solar radii. At the smallest, it would have a size similar to VX Sagittarii (see below)
WOH G64 1,540 ± 77[5] (1,730[6]) This would be the largest star in the LMC, but is unusual in position and motion and might still be a foreground halo giant. Monnier (2004) previously estimated the radius to be 2,000 R.[7]
RW Cephei 1,535 [8][9] RW Cep is variable both in brightness (by at least a factor of 3) and spectral type (observed from G8 to M2Ia-0), thus probably also in diameter. Because the spectral type and temperature at maximum luminosity are not known, the quoted size is just an estimate.
Westerlund 1-26 1,530-1,580[10] (–2,544) [3][b] Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not.
VX Sagittarii 1,520[11] VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range and varies significantly in size. Other recent estimates range from 1,350 R to 1,940 R.[12]
KY Cygni 1,420–2,850 [1] The upper estimate is due to an unusual K band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error, and is thought to be against stellar evolutionary theory. The lower estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models.
VY Canis Majoris 1,420 ± 120[13] Once thought to be a star so large that it contradicted stellar evolutionary theory, improved measurements have brought it down to size.[14]
AH Scorpii 1,411 ± 124[4] 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.
VV Cephei A 1,400[15]1,050–1,800[16][17][c] 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. Older estimates have given much larger sizes.[18]
HR 5171 A 1,315 ± 260[19]
1,490 ± 540[20]
HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary. Traditionally, it is considered a particularly large yellow hypergiant at 1,315 ± 260 R, although the latest research suggests it is a red supergiant with a radius of 1,490 ± 540 R. It varies significantly in size.
SMC 18136 1,310[2] This would be the largest star in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 1,260[21] Other recent estimates range from 650 R[22] to 1,420 R[1]
BI Cygni 916[11]-1,240[1]
V354 Cephei 690[11]-1,520[1]
S Persei 780-1,230[1] In the Perseus Double Cluster
RAFGL 2139 1,200[23] RAFGL 2139 is a rare red supergiant companion to WR 114 that has a bow shock.
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,190-1,940[1] 1,260-1,340[24] The largest estimate is due to an unusual K band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error. The lowest estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models, and the intermediate ones have been obtained refining the distance to this star, and thus its parameters.
NML Cygni 1,183[25]-2,769[26] An accurate measure combined with assumptions of its temperature give 1,640 R for a temperature of 3,250 K or 2,770 R for a temperature of 2,500 K.[26]
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 1,180[27][28] Ninth brightest star in the night sky. The angular diameter of Betelgeuse is only exceeded by R Doradus and the Sun.
EV Carinae 1,168[29]-2,880[30] EV Car is an unstable star plagued by dust extinction. The value on the left is subject to inaccuracy and thus not yet well defined.
BC Cygni 1,140[1]-1,230[31] Other recent estimates range from 856 R to 1,553 R.[32]
RT Carinae 1,090[1]
V396 Centauri 1,070[1]
HV 11423 1,060–1,220[33] HV 11423 is variable in spectral type (observed from K0/1 I to M4.5/5 I), thus probably also in diameter. In October 1978, it was a star of M0I type.
CK Carinae 1,060[1]
U Lacertae 1,025[11]
KW Sagittarii 1,009[4]-1,460[1] Margin of possible error: ± 142 solar radii (Torres 2013).
NR Vulpeculae 980[1]
RW Cygni 980[1] An alternate calculation gives a higher temperature of 3,920 K and a correspondingly radius of 680 R.
GCIRS 7 960 ± 92[34]
S Cassiopeiae 930[35][36]
IX Carinae 920[1]
HV 2112 918[37]
OH 104.9+2.4 891[25]
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 883[38] 15th brightest star in the Night Sky. Other recent estimates range from 653 R to 1,246 R.[foot 1]
OH 26.5+0.6 874[25]
V602 Carinae 860[1]-1,050[39]
V669 Cassiopeiae 859[25]
AFGL 5379 830[25]
CW Leonis 826[25] CW Leonis has been one of the mistaken identities as the claimed planet "Nibiru" or "Planet X", due to its brightness as it approaches 1st magnitude.
LP Andromedae 815[25]
BO Carinae 790[1]
SU Persei 780[1] In the Perseus Double Cluster
RS Persei 770[40]-1,000[1] In the Perseus Double Cluster. Margin of possible error: ± 30 solar radii (Baron 2014).
AV Persei 770[1]
V355 Cepheus 300[11]-770[1]
HD 95687 760[1]
V915 Scorpii 760[41]
S Cephei 760[42]
HD 303250 750[1]
V382 Carinae 747 ± 250[43] The brightest yellow hypergiant in the night sky, one of the rarest types of star.
RU Virginis 742[42]
XX Persei 710[44] In the Perseus Double Cluster
V648 Cassiopeiae 710[1]
V528 Carinae 700[1]
TV Geminorum 620-710[45] (-770[1])
The following well-known stars are listed for the purpose of comparison.
Psi1 Aurigae 637
NO Aurigae 630[1]
CE Tauri ("119 Tauri") 608[46] Unofficially nicknamed the Ruby Star[47]. Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
W Hydrae 520[48]
V384 Puppis 500-850[1]
R Andromedae 485 ± 125[49]
R Hydrae 460[50]
S Pegasi 459–574[51]
Rho Cassiopeiae 450[52] Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
V810 Centauri 420[53]
S Orionis 411–498[54] (530[55]) A pulsating Mira variable.
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 332–402[56] Prototype Mira variable.
Eta Carinae A (Tseen She) 400[57] Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realized to be a binary system. Its size is poorly defined. Other recent estimates range from 60 R to 800 R.[58] or from 85 R to 195 R.[59]
V509 Cassiopeiae 400–900[60] Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
R Leporis (Hind's "Crimson Star") 400–535[61] One of the largest carbon stars existent in the Milky Way. Margin of possible error: ± 90 solar radii.
Iota Scorpii (Apollyon) 125[62]-400[63]
V838 Monocerotis 380 ± 90 (in 2009)[64]
1,570 ± 400
[65]
The very large cool "L-type supergiant" reported with this radius was a transient object that shrunk about four-fold over a few years. Once topped to the list as one of the largest stars, after experiencing a nova outburst it gradually decreased in size.
S Doradus 100-380[66] Prototype S Doradus variable
U Orionis 370±96[67]
R Doradus 370 ± 50[68] Star with the second largest apparent size after the Sun.
IRC+10420 357[69] (1,342[25])
V337 Carinae 350[70]
The Pistol Star 340[71] Blue hypergiant, currently among the most massive and luminous stars.
T Cephei 329[72] One topped to the list, improved measurements brought it down to size.
V381 Cephei 327
Chi Cygni 316[73] (348–480[74])
Delta Apodis 314
S Coronae Borealis 308[75] Other recent estimates range from 537 R to 664 R.
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 307[25]-390[76] Currently one of the coolest and reddest stars.
IRAS 17163-3907 (the Fried egg nebula) 300-400[77]
R Leonis 299[25] (320-350[78]) This red giant has a possible evaporating extrasolar companion orbiting it.
Delta2 Lyrae 286[79]-381[80]
Omicron1 Canis Majoris 280[1]
IK Tauri (NML Tauri) 278[81]
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 264–303[82]
R Cassiopeiae 263[75]
The Sun's red giant phase 256[83] (436[84]) The core hydrogen would be exhausted in 5.4 billion years. In 7.647 billion years, The Sun would reach the tip of the red-giant branch of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.
Reported for reference
Cygnus OB2-12 246[85]
Delta Canis Majoris (Wezen) 237±66[86] 36th brightest star in the night sky.
Zeta Cephei 230[87]
HR Carinae 220[85] Other recent estimates range from 100 R[88] to 350 R[89].
Deneb (Alpha Cygni) 220 ± 17[90] 19th brightest star in the night sky.
6 Cassiopeiae 217[91]
Lambda Velorum (Al Suhail) 210[92]
LBV 1806-20 >200[93] Formerly a candidate for the most luminous star in the Milky Way.
AS 314 (V452 Scuti) 200[94]
31 Cygni 197±20[95]
RS Puppis 194[96]
Epsilon Pegasi (Enif) 185[97]
32 Cygni 184[95]
ℓ Carinae 169±8[98]
Rho Persei (Gorgonea Tertia) 150[99]
Gamma Cygni (Sadir) 150±80[100]
Epsilon Aurigae A (Almaaz) 143-358[101] ε Aur was incorrectly hailed as the largest star with a radius up to 3,000 R, even though it later turned out not to be an infrared light star but rather a dusk torus surrounding the system.
V533 Carinae (VV Storm) 141.5[102]
Epsilon Geminorum (Mebsuta) 140±35[103]
Nu Cephei 137[104]
Alpha Trianguli Australis (Atria) 130
Alpha Leporis (Arneb) 129[97]
HIP 110307 124.1
L Puppis 123±14[105]
Xi Puppis (Asmidiske) 120[106]
Mu Sagittarii (Polis) 115[107]
Beta Cygni A1 (Albireo) 109[108]
Peony Nebula Star 100[109] Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Beta Andromedae (Mirach) 100[110]
Gamma Aquilae (Tarazed) 95[97]
Beta Pegasi (Scheat) 95
Theta Herculis (Rukbalgethi Genubi) 89.97[111]
R Coronae Borealis 85[112]
Gamma Crucis (Gacrux) 84[113] The closest red giant star to the sun.
Gamma Andromedae (Almach) 80[114]
Rigel A (Beta Orionis A) 78.9 ± 7.4[115] Seventh brightest star in the night sky.
Nu Aquilae (Equator Star) 78[116]
Alpha Aquarii (Sadalmelik) 77±15[103]
P Cygni 76[117] The earliest known candidate for a luminous blue variable.
Canopus 71 ± 4[118] Second brightest star in the night sky.
R Scuti 70-90[119]
Epsilon Carinae (Avior) 70
Alpha Persei (Mirfak) 68±3[103]
Beta Doradus 67.8[120]
Eta Aquilae (Bezek) 66±22[103]
Zeta Geminorum (Mekbuda) 65.24[121]
Chi Orionis 61.9[122]
Alpha Persei (Mirfak) 60
Zeta Geminorum (Mekbuda) 60
Eta Aquilae (Bezek) 60
89 Herculis 60
Upsilon Sagittarii 60
Alpha Aquarii (Sadalmelik) 60
CPD -572874 60
Alpha Persei (Mirfak) 56
Iota Aurigae (Al Kab) 55
FF Aquilae 55
Alpha Apodis 55
Tau Serpentis 54
Beta Cancri (Tarf) 53
Alpha Antliae 53
Zeta¹ Scorpii 52
Alphard (Alpha Hydrae) 50.5
Beta Cancri (Tarf) 53
Zeta¹ Scorpii 52
Alphard (Alpha Hydrae) 50.5
Var 83 50-80[123] (150[124]) The brightest star in the Triangulum Galaxy.
Upsilon Sagittarii 50[125]
Gamma Draconis (Eltanin) 50
Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud) 50
HD 5980 A 48-160
Delta Virginis (Auva) 48[110]
Pi Puppis 48[126]
Epsilon Boötis (Izar) 48
Zeta² Scorpii 48
AG Antliae 47
V428 Andromedae 46.3
HD 13189 46
HD 203857 46
Delta Cephei 44.5[127] Prototype Delta Cephei variable
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.2 ± 0.9[128]
Alpha Cassiopeiae (Schedar) 42
Alpha Ceti (Menkar) 42
Delta Cephei (Alrediph) 41.6
Beta Ursae Minoris (Kochab) 41
Beta Draconis (Rastaban) 40
BD Camelopardalis 40
HD 5980 B 40
Eta Canis Majoris (Aludra) 37.8
Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris) 37.5[129] The current northern pole star.
87 Leonis 37
Gamma Centauri (Muhlifan) 36.5
S Normae 35.6
R136a1 35.4[130] Also on the list as the most massive and luminous star.
Sher 25 35
Gamma Leonis (Algieba) 31.9
Alpha Camelopardalis 31.2
Alpha Ursae Majoris (Dubhe) 30
11 Lacertae 30
Beta Camelopardalis 30
Cygnus OB2-8 28
Eta Leonis (Al Jabhah) 27
R Apodis 26.3
Epsilon Orionis (Alnilam) 26
Eta Piscium (Kullat Nunu) 26
Melnick 42 26
Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) 25.4[131] Brightest star in the northern hemisphere
HD 93129A 25
11 Ursae Minoris 24.1
HD 47536 23.5
Epsilon Leonis (Algenubi) 23
42 Draconis 22 ± 1
Alpha Reticuli 21
Chi Virginis 20.9
19 Cephei 20–30
HDE 226868 20–22[132] The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is 500,000 times smaller than the star.
Zeta Orionis (Alnitak) 20
Theta Scorpii (Sargas) 20
Beta Herculis (Kornephoros) 20
Theta Apodis 20
Alpha Sagittae (Alsahm) 20
HR 2422 Monocerotis (Plaskett's Star) 19.2
Kappa Cassiopeiae 19
Beta Scorpii (Acrab) 19
Beta Lyrae (Sheliak) 19
R 122 18.5
HD 93250 18
Alpha Microscopii 17.5
LH45-425 A 17.5
Upsilon Hydrae 17.1
Beta Ceti (Deneb Kaitos) 17
Epsilon Canis Majoris (Adhara) 17
LY Aurigae 16
Theta Centauri (Menkent) 16
Beta Corvi (Kraz) 16
Delta Sagittarii (Kaus Media) 16[126]
Zeta Puppis (Naos) 14-26[133] One of the most massive stars visible to the naked eye.
Gamma Cassiopeiae (Tsih) 14
Beta Ophiuchi (Celbalrai) 13.2
37 Aquilae 13
HD 240210 13
Xi Aquilae 12
Gamma Arae 12
Alpha Aurigae A (Capella A) 11.98[134] Sixth brightest star in the night sky.
WR 104 10 WR 104 is located about 7,500 light years from Earth, the star could take away our planet in its self-destructive frenzy.
VV Cephei B 10[18]-25[135] The B-type main sequence companion of VV Cephei A.
Sun 1 The largest object in the solar system.
Reported for reference

Relations between solar radius and orbital radius of planets

List of orbital radius of planets
Planet Astronomical unit
(AU = 149,597,870.691 km)
(AU = 214.9 solar radii)
Solar radii
(Sun = 695,742 km)
(Sun = 1)
Example stars
Mercury 0.31 - 0.47 66 - 100 Canopus (71) Rigel (78.9) Beta Cygni (109) Epsilon Aurigae (143 - 358)
Venus 0.72 - 0.73 154 - 157 Epsilon Pegasi (185) LBV 1806-20 (>200)
Earth 0.98 - 1.02 211 - 219 Deneb (220) Alpha Herculis (264 – 303)
Mars 1.38 - 1.67 297 - 358 La Superba (307) Chi Cygni (316) Pistol Star (340) V838 Monocerotis (380) η Carinae (400) Tail of Comet Hyakutake (for comparison) (~400) Mira (332 - 402)
Inner limits of the Asteroid Belt 1.92 412 Rho Cassiopeiae (450) S Pegasi (459-574) TZ Cassiopeiae (645-800) 6 Geminorum (670-950) RW Cygni (680-980) TV Geminorum (620-710) V382 Carinae (747)
Outer limits of the Asteroid Belt 3.79 816 CW Leonis (826) Antares (883) KW Sagittarii (1,009 - 1,460)
Jupiter 4.95 - 5.46 1,064 - 1,173 EV Carinae (1,168 - 2,880) Betelgeuse (887 – 1,180) NML Cygni (1,183) S Persei (780 - 1,230) μ Cephei (1,260) HR 5171 (1,315 - 1,490) VV Cephei (1,400) VY Canis Majoris (1,420) KY Cygni (1,420) WOH G64 (1,540-1,730) V838 Monocerotis (Lane et al estimate) (1,570) UY Scuti (1,708)
Saturn 9.02 - 10.08 1,940 - 2,169 VY Canis Majoris (Humphreys et al estimate, obsolete) (1,800 - 2,200) Westerlund 1-26 (upper estimate) (2,544) KY Cygni (upper estimate) (2,850)
Uranus 18.33 - 20.11 3,941 - 4,324
Neptune 29.81 - 30.33 6,411 - 6,526
Pluto 29.658 - 49.305 6,377 - 10,602
Haumea 29.658 - 49.305 11,297 - 14,382 Quasi-star (hypothetical) (7,187)
Planet Nine 200 - 1,200 43,006 - 258,039

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ approximately 800, derived from the 1990 lunar occultation measurement of apparent diameter of 43.1 milliarcsec (up to ±1 milliarcsec error) (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1990A&A...230..355R page 361) together with 1997 parallax of 5.40 [1.68] milliarcsec (SIMBAD citing Hipparcos). The parallax gives a derived distance from 460 to 877 light years. This in turn yields an actual diameter from 653 to 1,246 solar radius. An average of 800 is used here.

References

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Notes

  1. ^ NML Cygni would be this size when applying the Stefan-Boltzman Law with a nominal effective temperature of 5,772 K.
  2. ^ This value appeared in an earlier edition of the Clark et al ref, but was later omitted. The current value cites a radius of ~2,000 R
  3. ^ The Bauer et al ref gives a value of up to 1,900 R, but also estimates the Roche lobe of VV Cephei A to be 1,800 R, so the radius can be no larger than this.

External links

  • Giant Stars An interactive website comparing the Earth and the Sun to some of the largest stars
  • BBC News Three largest stars identified
  • Universe Today What is the Biggest Star in the Universe?