List of most massive stars

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This is a list of the most massive stars that have been discovered, in solar masses (M).

Uncertainties and caveats[edit]

Most of the masses listed below are contested and, being the subject of current research, remain under review and subject to constant revision of their masses and other characteristics. Indeed, many of the masses listed in the table below are inferred from theory, using difficult measurements of the stars' temperatures and absolute brightnesses. All the masses listed below are uncertain: Both the theory and the measurements are pushing the limits of current knowledge and technology. Both theories and measurements could be incorrect. For example, VV Cephei could be between 25–40 M, or 100 M, depending on which property of the star is examined.

Artist's impression of disc of obscuring material around a massive star.

Complications with distance and obscuring clouds[edit]

Since massive stars are rare, astronomers must look very far from Earth to find them. All the listed stars are many thousands of light years away, which makes measurements difficult. In addition to being far away, many stars of such extreme mass are surrounded by clouds of outflowing gas created by extremely powerful stellar winds; the surrounding gas interferes with the already difficult-to-obtain measurements of stellar temperatures and brightnesses, which greatly complicates the issue of estimating internal chemical compositions and structures.[a] This obstruction leads to difficulties in calculating parameters.

Eta Carinae is the bright spot hidden in the double-lobed dust cloud. It is the most massive star that has a Bayer designation. It was only discovered to be (at least) two stars in the past few decades.

Both the obscuring clouds and the great distances make it difficult to judge whether the star is just a single supermassive object or, instead, a multiple star system. A number of the "stars" listed below may actually be two or more companions orbiting too closely to distinguish by our telescopes, each star being massive in itself but not necessarily “supermassive” to either be on this list, or near the top of it. Other combinations are possible – for example a supermassive star with one or more smaller companions or more than one giant star – but without being able to see inside the surrounding cloud, it is difficult to know the truth of the matter. More globally, statistics on stellar populations seem to indicate that the upper mass limit is in the 100–200 solar mass range.[1]

Rare reliable estimates[edit]

Eclipsing binary stars are the only stars whose masses are estimated with some confidence. However note that almost all of the masses listed in the table below were inferred by indirect methods; only a few of the masses in the table were determined using eclipsing systems.

WR 25 is a binary star, whose orbit around its obscured companion provided a constraint on its mass.

Amongst the most reliable listed masses are those for the eclipsing binaries NGC 3603-A1, WR 21a, and WR 20a. Masses for all three were obtained from orbital measurements.[b] This involves measuring their radial velocities and also their light curves. The radial velocities only yield minimum values for the masses, depending on inclination, but light curves of eclipsing binaries provide the missing information: inclination of the orbit to our line of sight.

Relevance of stellar evolution[edit]

Some stars may once have been more massive than they are today. It is likely that many have suffered significant mass loss (perhaps as much as several tens of solar masses.) This mass may have been expelled by superwinds: high velocity winds that are driven by the hot photosphere into interstellar space. The process forms an enlarged extended envelope around the star that interacts with the nearby interstellar medium and infusing the region with elements heavier than Hydrogen or Helium.[c]

There are also – or rather were – stars that might have appeared on the list but no longer exist as stars, or are supernova impostors; today we see only their debris.[d] The masses of the precursor stars that fueled these destructive events can be estimated from the type of explosion and the energy released, but those masses are not listed here (see § Black holes below).

Mass limits[edit]

There are two related theoretical limits on how massive a star can possibly be: the accretion limit and the Eddington mass limit. The accretion limit is related to star formation: After about 120 M have accreted in a protostar, the combined mass should have become hot enough for its heat to drive away any further incoming matter. In effect, the protostar reaches a point where it evaporates away material as fast as it collects new material. The Eddington limit is based on light pressure from the core of an already-formed star: As mass increases past ~150 M, the intensity of light radiated from a Population I star's core will become sufficient for the light-pressure pushing outward to exceed the gravitational force pulling inward, and the surface material of the star will be free to float away into space.

Accretion limits[edit]

Astronomers have long hypothesized that as a protostar grows to a size beyond 120 M, something drastic must happen. Although the limit can be stretched for very early Population III stars, and although the exact value is uncertain, if any stars still exist above 150–200 M they would challenge current theories of stellar evolution.

Studying the Arches Cluster, which is currently the densest known cluster of stars in our galaxy, astronomers have confirmed that stars in that cluster do not occur any larger than about 150 M.

The R136 cluster is an unusually dense collection of young, hot, blue stars.

Rare ultramassive stars that exceed this limit – for example in the R136 star cluster – might be explained by the following proposal: Some of the pairs of massive stars in close orbit in young, unstable multiple-star systems must occasionally collide and merge where certain unusual circumstances hold that make a collision possible.[2]

Eddington mass limit[edit]

A limit on stellar mass arises because of light-pressure: For a sufficiently massive star the outward pressure of radiant energy generated by nuclear fusion in the star's core exceeds the inward pull of its own gravity. The lowest mass for which this effect is active is the Eddington limit.

Stars of greater mass have a higher rate of core energy generation, and heavier stars' luminosities increase far out of proportion to the increase in their masses. The Eddington limit is the point beyond which a star ought to push itself apart, or at least shed enough mass to reduce its internal energy generation to a lower, maintainable rate. The actual limit-point mass depends on how opaque the gas in the star is, and metal-rich Population I stars have lower mass limits than metal-poor Population II stars, with the hypothetical metal-free Population III stars having the highest allowed mass, somewhere around 300 M.

In theory, a more massive star could not hold itself together because of the mass loss resulting from the outflow of stellar material. In practice the theoretical Eddington Limit must be modified for high luminosity stars and the empirical Humphreys–Davidson limit is used instead.[3]

List of the most massive stars[edit]

Legend
Wolf–Rayet star
Luminous blue variable
O-type star
B-type star

The following two lists show a few of the known stars, including the stars in open cluster, OB association and H II region. Despite their high luminosity, many of them are nevertheless too distant to be observed with the naked eye. Stars that are at least sometimes visible to the unaided eye have their apparent magnitude (6.5 or brighter) highlighted in blue.

The first list gives stars that are estimated to be 60 M or larger; the majority of which are shown. The second list includes some notable stars which are below 60 M for the purpose of comparison. The method used to determine each star's mass is included to give an idea of the data's uncertainty; note that the mass of binary stars can be determined far more accurately. The masses listed below are the stars' current (evolved) mass, not their initial (formation) mass.

Stars with 60 M or greater
Star name Mass
(M, Sun = 1)
Approx. distance
from earth (ly)
Apparent
visible magnitude
Effective
temperature (K)
Estimation
method
Link Reference
Westerhout 49-2 (in Westerhout 49) 250 36,200 18.246 (J band) 35,500 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
BAT99-98 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 226 165,000 13.38 45,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][7]
R136a1 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 215 163,000 12.28 46,000 Evolution SIMBAD [8][7]
R136a7 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 199 163,000 13.97 49,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
Melnick 42 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 189 163,000 12.78 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
R136a2 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 187 163,000 12.34 50,000 Evolution SIMBAD [8][7]
VFTS 1022 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 178 164,000 13.47 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
R136a5 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 171 157,000 13.71 47,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
R136a4 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 167 157,000 13.41 48,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
HSH95-46 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 160 163,000 14.56 49,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
Westerhout 51-57 (in Westerhout 51) 160 20,000 16.958 (J band) 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [10][5]
R136a3 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 154 163,000 12.97 50,000 Evolution SIMBAD [8][7]
VFTS 682 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 153 164,000 16.08 52,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [11][7]
HD 15558 A (in IC 1805 of Heart Nebula) 152 24,400 7.87 (combined) 39,500 Binary SIMBAD [12][13]
HSH95-36 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 149 163,000 14.41 52,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
Westerhout 51-3 (in Westerhout 51) 148 20,000 16.998 (J band) 39,800 Evolution SIMBAD [10][5]
Melnick 34 A (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 147 163,000 13.09 (combined) 53,000 Binary SIMBAD [14][7]
VFTS 482 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 145 164,000 12.95 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
R136c (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 142 163,000 13.43 51,000 Evolution SIMBAD [15][7]
VFTS 1021 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 141 164,000 13.35 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
LH 10-3209 A (in NGC 1763 of LMC) 140 160,000 11.859 (combined) 42,500 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17][e]
VFTS 506 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 138 164,000 13.31 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [11][7]
Melnick 34 B (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 136 163,000 13.09 (combined) 53,000 Binary SIMBAD [14][7]
Westerhout 51d (in Westerhout 51) 135 20,000 15.11 (J band) 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [10][5]
VFTS 545 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 133 164,000 13.32 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
HD 97950 B (WR 43b in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 132 24,800 11.33 42,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [18][19]
HD 269810 (in NGC 2029 of LMC) 130 163,000 12.22 52,500 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [20][21]
Westerhout 49-1 (in Westerhout 49) 130 36,200 15.531 (J band) 44,700 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
HSH95-73 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 127 163,000 15.13 33,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
WR 42e (in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 123 25,000 14.53 43,000 Ejection SIMBAD [23][f]
R136a6 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 121 157,000 13.35 53,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
HD 97950 A1a (WR 43a A in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 120 24,800 11.18 (combined) 42,000 Binary SIMBAD [18][19]
LSS 4067 (in HM 1) 120 11,000 11.44 40,000 Evolution SIMBAD [24][25]
R136b (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 120 163,000 13.24 37,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
WR 93 (in Pismis 24 of NGC 6357) 120 5,900 10.68 71,000 Evolution SIMBAD [24][13]
Sk -69° 212 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 119 160,000 12.416 45,400 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Sk -69° 249 A (in NGC 2074 of LMC) 119 160,000 12.02 (combined) 38,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][27]
ST5-31 (in NGC 2074 of LMC) 119 160,000 12.273 50,700 Evolution SIMBAD [26][28]
MSP 183 (in Westerlund 2) 115 20,000 13.878 46,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [29][30]
WR 24 (in Collinder 228 of Carina Nebula) 114 14,000 6.48 50,100 Evolution SIMBAD [31][32]
HD 97950 C1 (WR 43c A in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 113 24,800 11.89 (combined) 44,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [18][19][e]
Arches-F9 (WR 102ae in Arches Cluster) 111.3 25,000 16.1 (J band) 36,600 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
Cygnus OB2 #12 A (in Cygnus OB2) 110 5,200 11.702 (combined) 13,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [35][36][e]
HD 93129 Aa (in Trumpler 14 of Carina Nebula) 110 7,500 6.9 (combined) 42,500 Trinary SIMBAD [37][13]
R146 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 109 164,000 13.11 63,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][7]
VFTS 621 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 107 164,000 15.39 54,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
Westerhout 49-3 (in Westerhout 49) 105 36,200 16.689 (J band) 40,700 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
WR 21a A (Runaway star from Westerlund 2) 103.6 26,100 12.661 (combined) 45,000 Binary SIMBAD [38][21]
R99 (in N44 of LMC) 103 164,000 11.52 28,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][13]
HSH95-47 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 102 163,000 14.72 47,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][7]
Arches-F6 (WR 102ah in Arches Cluster) 101 25,000 15.75 (J band) 33,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
Sk -65° 47 (in NGC 1923 of LMC) 101 160,000 12.466 47,800 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Arches-F1 (WR 102ad in Arches Cluster) 100.9 25,000 16.3 (J band) 33,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
Peony Star (WR 102ka in Peony Nebula near Galactic Center) 100 26,000 12.978 (J band) 25,100 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [39][5]
VFTS 457 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 100 164,000 13.74 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
η Carinae A (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 100 7,500 4.3 (combined) 9,400-35,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [40][41]
Mercer 30-1 A (WR 46-3 A in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 99 40,000 10.33 (J band) 32,200 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g][e]
Sk -68° 137 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 99 160,000 13.346 50,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17]
HSH95-48 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 98 163,000 14.75 49,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
WR 25 A (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 98 6,500 8.8 (combined) 50,100 Evolution SIMBAD [31][13][e]
BI 253 (Runaway star from Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 97.6 164,000 13.76 54,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [15][43]
R136a8 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 96 157,000 14.42 51,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [22][7]
Westerhout 49-15 (in Westerhout 49) 96 36,200 18.307 (J band) 43,700 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
HD 38282 B (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 95 163,000 11.11 (combined) 47,000 Binary SIMBAD [44][21]
HM 1-6 (in HM 1) 95 11,000 11.64 44,700 Evolution SIMBAD [24][45]
NGC 3603-42 (in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 95 25,000 12.86 50,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][19]
R139 A (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 95 163,000 11.94 (combined) 35,000 Binary SIMBAD [6][7]
BAT99-6 (in NGC 1747 of LMC) 94 165,000 11.95 56,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17]
HSH95-49 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 94 163,000 14.75 48,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
Sk -66° 172 (in N64 of LMC) 94 160,000 13.1 46,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17][h]
ST2-22 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 94 160,000 14.3 51,300 Evolution SIMBAD [26][46]
VFTS 259 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 94 164,000 13.65 37,600 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 562 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 94 164,000 13.66 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 512 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 93 164,000 14.28 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
HD 97950 A1b (WR 43a B in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 92 24,800 11.18 (combined) 40,000 Binary SIMBAD [18][19]
VFTS 16 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 91.6 164,000 13.55 50,600 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [15][7]
HD 97950 A3 (in HD 97950 of NGC 3603) 91 24,800 12.95 50,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][19]
NGC 346-W1 (in NGC 346 of SMC) 91 200,000 12.57 43,400 Evolution SIMBAD [26][47]
HSH95-45 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 90 163,000 14.65 42,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
R127 (in NGC 2055 of LMC) 90 160,000 10.15 10,000-27,000 Evolution SIMBAD [48][21]
VFTS 333 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 90 164,000 12.49 37,600 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 267 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 89 164,000 13.49 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 64 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 88 164,000 14.621 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
BAT99-80 A (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 87 165,000 13 (combined) 45,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [26][46]
R140b (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 87 165,000 12.66 47,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][7]
VFTS 542 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 87 164,000 13.47 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 599 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 87 164,000 13.8 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
WR 89 (in HM 1) 87 11,000 11.02 39,800 Evolution SIMBAD [31][21]
Arches-F7 (WR 102aj in Arches Cluster) 86.3 25,000 15.74 (J band) 32,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
Sk -69° 104 (in NGC 1910 of LMC) 86 160,000 12.1 39,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
VFTS 1017 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 86 164,000 14.5 50,100 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
LH 10-3061 (in NGC 1763 of LMC) 85 160,000 13.491 52,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17]
Sk 80 (in NGC 346 of SMC) 85 200,000 12.31 38,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][49]
VFTS 603 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 85 164,000 13.99 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
Sk -70° 91 (in BSDL 1830 of LMC) 84.09 165,000 12.78 48,900 Evolution SIMBAD [50][17][i]
R147 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 84 164,000 12.993 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][51]
HD 93250 A (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 83.3 7,500 7.5 (combined) 46,000 Evolution SIMBAD [52][13][e]
HSH95-30 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 83 163,000 14.21 37,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
WR 20a A (in Westerlund 2) 82.7 20,000 13.28 (combined) 43,000 Binary SIMBAD [53]
TIC 276934932 A (in NGC 2048 of LMC) 82 160,000 14.05 (combined) 45,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17]
WR 20a B (in Westerlund 2) 81.9 20,000 13.28 (combined) 43,000 Binary SIMBAD [53]
Trumpler 27-27 (in Trumpler 27) 81 3,900 13.31 37,000 Evolution SIMBAD [24][21]
BAT99-96 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 80 165,000 13.76 42,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][7]
HD 15570 (in IC 1805 of Heart Nebula) 80 7,500 8.11 46,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [12][13]
HD 38282 A (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 80 163,000 11.11 (combined) 47,000 Binary SIMBAD [44][21]
HSH95-70 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 80 163,000 14.96 47,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
Arches-F15 (in Arches Cluster) 79.7 25,000 16.12 (J band) 35,600 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
BI 237 (in BSDL 2527 of LMC) 79.66 165,000 13.83 51,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [50][17][j]
VFTS 94 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 79 164,000 14.161 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
VFTS 151 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 79 164,000 14.13 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
HSH95-31 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 78 163,000 14.12 48,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
LH 41-32 (in NGC 1910 of LMC) 78 160,000 13.086 48,200 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Pismis 24-17 (in Pismis 24 of NGC 6357) 78 5,900 11.84 42,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [54][45]
VFTS 404 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 78 164,000 14.14 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
HSH95-112 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 77 163,000 15.74 36,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
Westerhout 51-2 (in Westerhout 51) 77 20,000 13.461 (J band) 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [10][5]
BAT99-68 (in BSDL 2505 of LMC) 76 165,000 14.13 45,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17][k]
HD 93632 (in Collinder 228 of Carina Nebula) 76 10,000 8.23 45,400 Evolution SIMBAD [24][13]
NGC 346-W3 (in NGC 346 of SMC) 76 200,000 12.8 52,500 Evolution SIMBAD [26][47]
VFTS 169 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 76 164,000 14.437 47,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
VFTS 440 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 76 164,000 12.046 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
AB1 (in DEM S10 of SMC) 75 197,000 15.238 79,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [55][47][l]
WR 22 A (in Bochum 10 of Carina Nebula) 75 8,300 6.42 (combined) 44,700 Evolution SIMBAD [31][13][m]
Pismis 24-1NE (in Pismis 24 of NGC 6357) 74 6,500 11 42,500 Binary SIMBAD [54][56]
VFTS 608 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 74 164,000 14.22 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
Mercer 30-3 (in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 73 40,000 12.62 (J band) 39,300 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g]
Mercer 30-11 (in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 73 40,000 12.33 (J band) 36,800 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g]
VFTS 566 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 73 164,000 14.05 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
LH 64-16 (in NGC 2001 of LMC) 72 160,000 13.666 50,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][28]
NGC 2044-W35 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 72 160,000 14.1 48,200 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
VFTS 216 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 72 164,000 14.389 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
HSH95-58 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 71 163,000 14.8 50,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
ST2-1 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 71 160,000 14.3 44,100 Evolution SIMBAD [26][46]
VFTS 3 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 71 164,000 11.56 21,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [57][7]
Arches-F12 (WR 102af in Arches Cluster) 70 25,000 16.4 (J band) 36,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
HD 15629 (in IC 1805 of Heart Nebula) 70 7,500 8.42 45,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [12][13]
HD 37974 (in N135 of LMC) 70 163,000 10.99 22,500 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [58][21][n]
HD 93129 Ab (in Trumpler 14 of Carina Nebula) 70 7,500 7.31 (combined) 44,000 Trinary SIMBAD [37][59]
M33 X-7 B (in Triangulum Galaxy) 70 2,700,000 18.7 35,000 Binary SIMBAD [60][61]
Sk -69° 194 A (in NGC 2033 of LMC) 70 160,000 12.131 (combined) 45,000 Evolution SIMBAD [26][51][e]
VFTS 125 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 69.6 164,000 16.6 55,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [15][46]
HD 46150 (in NGC 2244 of Rosette Nebula) 69 5,200 6.73 44,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][13]
HD 229059 (in Berkeley 87) 69 3,000 8.7 26,300 Evolution SIMBAD [24][13]
ST2-3 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 69 160,000 14.264 44,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
ST2-32 (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 69 160,000 13.903 45,400 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
W28-23 (in NGC 2033 of LMC) 69 160,000 13.702 51,300 Evolution SIMBAD [26][28]
HD 93403 A (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 68.5 10,400 8.27 (combined) 39,300 Binary SIMBAD [62][21]
HD 93130 (in Collinder 228 of Carina Nebula) 68 10,000 8.04 39,900 Evolution SIMBAD [24][13]
HM 1-8 (in HM 1) 68 11,000 12.52 46,100 Evolution SIMBAD [24][45]
HSH95-75 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 68 163,000 15.08 39,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
Westerhout 51-61 (in Westerhout 51) 68 20,000 18.16 (J band) 38,000 Evolution SIMBAD [10][5]
BAT99-93 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 67 165,000 13.446 45,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17]
Sk -69° 200 (in NGC 2033 of LMC) 67 160,000 11.18 26,300 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Arches-F18 (in Arches Cluster) 66.9 25,000 16.7 (J band) 36,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
Arches-F4 (WR 102al in Arches Cluster) 66.4 25,000 15.63 (J band) 36,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [33][34]
BAT99-59 A (in NGC 2020 of LMC) 66 165,000 13.186 (combined) 71,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17][e]
BAT99-104 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 66 165,000 12.5 63,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17]
HD 5980 B (in NGC 346 of SMC) 66 200,000 11.31 (combined) 45,000 Trinary SIMBAD [63][59]
HD 190429 A (near Barnard 146) 66 7,800 6.63 (combined) 46,000 Binary SIMBAD [64][13]
LH 31-1003 (in NGC 1858 of LMC) 66 160,000 13.186 41,900 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
LH 114-7 (in N70 of LMC) 66 160,000 13.66 50,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17][o]
Pismis 24-1SW (in Pismis 24 of NGC 6357) 66 6,500 11.1 40,000 Binary SIMBAD [54][56]
BAT99-126 (in NGC 2081 of LMC) 65 165,000 13.166 71,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17]
HSH95-89 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 65 163,000 14.76 44,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [22]
VFTS 63 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 65 164,000 14.4 42,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][46]
VFTS 145 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 65 164,000 14.3 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
VFTS 518 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 65 164,000 15.11 44,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
Westerhout 49-8 (in Westerhout 49) 65 36,200 15.617 (J band) 40,700 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
BD+43° 3654 (Runaway star from Cygnus OB2) 64.6 5,400 10.06 40,400 Evolution SIMBAD [65][59]
BAT99-129 A (in DEM L294 of LMC) 64 165,000 14.701 (combined) 79,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17][p][e]
HSH95-68 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 64 163,000 15.15 43,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
Sk -69° 25 (in NGC 1748 of LMC) 64 160,000 11.886 43,600 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Trumpler 27-23 (in Trumpler 27) 64 3,900 10.09 27,500 Evolution SIMBAD [24][21]
Westerhout 49-5 (in Westerhout 49) 64 36,200 15.623 (J band) 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [4][5]
HD 46223 (in NGC 2244 of Rosette Nebula) 63 5,200 7.28 46,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][13]
HD 64568 (in NGC 2467 of Puppis OB2) 63 16,000 9.39 54,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][21]
HD 303308 (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 63 9,200 8.17 51,300 Evolution SIMBAD [24][21]
HR 6187 A (in NGC 6193 of Ara OB1) 63 4,300 5.54 (combined) 46,500 Septenary SIMBAD [66][13]
LH 10-3058 (in NGC 1763 of LMC) 63 160,000 14.089 54,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [16][17]
ST5-71 (in NGC 2074 of LMC) 63 160,000 13.266 45,400 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
AB9 (in DEM S80 of SMC) 62 197,000 15.431 100,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [55][47][q]
Brey 32 B (in NGC 1966 of LMC) 62 165,000 12.32 (combined) 43,600 Evolution SIMBAD [26][21]
HD 93160 (in Trumpler 14 of Carina Nebula) 62 8,000 7.6 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [24][13]
LH 41-1017 (in NGC 1910 of LMC) 62 160,000 12.266 42,700 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Mercer 30-6a A (WR 46-4 A in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 62 40,000 10.39 (J band) 29,900 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g][e]
ST4-18 (in NGC 2081 of LMC) 62 160,000 13.639 44,800 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
VFTS 664 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 62 164,000 13.937 39,900 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][17]
HD 229196 (in Cygnus OB9) 61.6 5,000 8.59 40,900 Evolution SIMBAD [65][45]
AB8 B (in NGC 602 of SMC) 61 197,000 12.83 (combined) 45,000 Binary SIMBAD [63][67]
BAT99-79 A (in NGC 2044 of LMC) 61 165,000 13.486 (combined) 42,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [6][17][e]
HD 5980 A (in NGC 346 of SMC) 61 200,000 11.31 (combined) 21,000-53,000 Trinary SIMBAD [63][59]
HSH95-64 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 61 163,000 15.03 40,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [8][22]
LH 41-18 (in NGC 1910 of LMC) 61 160,000 12.586 38,500 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17]
Mercer 30-9 A (in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 61 40,000 12.25 (J band) 34,500 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g][e]
ST5-25 (in NGC 2074 of LMC) 61 160,000 13.551 48,600 Evolution SIMBAD [26][28]
VFTS 422 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 61 164,000 15.14 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
WR 102hb (in Quintuplet cluster) 61 26,000 13.9 (J band) 25,100 Evolution SIMBAD [68][69]
Sk -67° 166 (in GKK-A144 of LMC) 60.68 160,000 12.22 41,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [50][17][r]
Sk -67° 167 (in GKK-A144 of LMC) 60.68 160,000 12.586 41,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [50][17][r]
Sk -71° 46 (in BSDL 2242 of LMC) 60.68 160,000 13.241 41,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [50][17][s]
Brey 10 (in NGC 1770 of LMC) 60 165,000 12.69 117,000 Evolution SIMBAD [26][21]
Brey 94 A (in NGC 2081 of LMC) 60 165,000 12.996 (combined) 83,000 Evolution SIMBAD [26][17][e]
Brey 95a A (in NGC 2081 of LMC) 60 165,000 12.2 (combined) 83,000 Evolution SIMBAD [26][70][e]
Mercer 30-7 A (WR 46-5 A in Mercer 30 of Dragonfish Nebula) 60 40,000 11.516 (J band) 41,400 Evolution SIMBAD [42][g][e]
R134 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 60 164,000 12.75 39,800 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [9][7]
R142 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 60 164,000 11.82 18,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [57][7]
R143 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 60 160,000 12.014 18,000-36,000 Evolution SIMBAD [48][17]
Sk -69° 142a (in NGC 1983 of LMC) 60 160,000 11.093 34,000 Evolution SIMBAD [48][51]
Sk -69° 259 (in NGC 2081 of LMC) 60 160,000 11.93 23,000 Evolution SIMBAD [26][21]
Var 83 (in Triangulum Galaxy) 60 3,000,000 16.027 18,000-37,000 Evolution SIMBAD [71][72]
VFTS 430 (in Tarantula Nebula of LMC) 60 164,000 15.11 24,500 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [57][7]

A few notable stars of mass less than 60 M are included for the purpose of comparison.

Star name Mass
(M, Sun = 1)
Approx. distance
from earth (ly)
Apparent
visible magnitude
Effective
temperature (K)
Estimation
method
Link Reference
ζ Puppis (Naos in Vela R2 of Vela Molecular Ridge) 56.1 1,080 2.25 40,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [64][13][t]
λ Cephei (Runaway star from Cepheus OB3) 51.4 3,100 5.05 36,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [64][13]
τ Canis Majoris Aa (in NGC 2362) 50 5,120 4.89 32,000 Evolution SIMBAD [73][13]
θ Muscae Ab (in Centaurus OB1) 44 7,400 5.53 (combined) 33,000 Evolution SIMBAD [74][13]
ε Orionis (Alnilam in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 40 2,000 1.69 27,500 Evolution SIMBAD [75][13]
θ2 Orionis A (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 39 1,500 5.02 34,900 Evolution SIMBAD [76][77]
α Camelopardalis (Runaway star from NGC 1502) 37.6 6,000 4.29 29,000 Evolution SIMBAD [78][13]
P Cygni (in IC 4996 of Cygnus OB1) 37 5,100 4.82 18,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [79][13][u]
ζ1 Scorpii (in NGC 6231 of Scorpius OB1) 36 8,210 4.705 17,200 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [35][80]
ζ Orionis Aa (Alnitak in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 33 1,260 2.08 29,500 Evolution SIMBAD [81]
θ1 Orionis C1 (in Trapezium Cluster of Orion Complex) 33 1,340 5.13 (combined) 39,000 Evolution SIMBAD [82][13]
κ Cassiopeiae (in Cassiopeia OB14) 33 4,000 4.16 23,500 Evolution SIMBAD [83][13]
μ Normae (in NGC 6169) 33 3,260 4.91 28,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [84][13]
η Carinae B (in Trumpler 16 of Carina Nebula) 30 7,500 4.3 (combined) 37,200 Binary SIMBAD [85][41]
γ2 Velorum B (in Vela OB2) 28.5 1,230 1.83 (combined) 35,000 Evolution SIMBAD [86][13]
λ Orionis A (Meissa in Collinder 69 of Orion Complex) 27.9 1,100 3.54 37,700 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [84][87]
ξ Persei (Menkib in California Nebula of Perseus OB2) 26.1 1,200 4.04 35,000 Evolution SIMBAD [78][13]
WR 79a (in NGC 6231 of Scorpius OB1) 24.4 5,600 5.77 35,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [84][13]
δ Orionis Aa1 (Mintaka in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 24 1,200 2.5 (combined) 29,500 Evolution SIMBAD [88][89]
ι Orionis Aa1 (Hatysa in NGC 1980 of Orion Complex) 23.1 1,340 2.77 (combined) 32,500 Evolution SIMBAD [90][91]
κ Crucis (in Jewel Box Cluster of Centaurus OB1) 23 7,500 5.98 16,300 Evolution SIMBAD [92][59]
WR 78 (in NGC 6231 of Scorpius OB1) 22 4,100 6.48 50,100 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [31][32]
ο2 Canis Majoris (in Collinder 121) 21.4 2,800 3.043 15,500 Evolution SIMBAD [84][13]
β Orionis A (Rigel in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 21 860 0.13 12,100 Evolution SIMBAD [93][13]
η Canis Majoris (Aludra in Collinder 121) 21 2,000 2.45 15,000 Evolution SIMBAD [83][13]
ζ Ophiuchi (in Upper Scorpius subgroup of Scorpius OB2) 20.2 370 2.569 34,000 Evolution SIMBAD [78][13]
υ Orionis (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 20 2,900 4.618 33,400 Evolution SIMBAD [94][95]
σ Orionis Aa (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 18 1,260 4.07 (combined) 35,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [96][97]
μ Columbae (Runaway star from Trapezium Cluster) 16 1,300 5.18 33,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [98][13]
κ Orionis (Saiph in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 15.5 650 2.09 26,500 Evolution SIMBAD [99][13]
σ Cygni (in Cygnus OB4) 15 3,260 4.233 10,800 Evolution SIMBAD [100][101]
θ Carinae A (in IC 2602 of Scorpius OB2) 14.9 460 2.76 (combined) 31,000 Evolution SIMBAD [84][102]
θ2 Orionis B (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 14.8 1,500 6.38 29,300 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [103]
ζ Persei (in Perseus OB2) 14.5 750 2.86 20,800 Evolution SIMBAD [99][13]
σ Orionis B (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 14 1,260 4.07 (combined) 31,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [96][97]
β Canis Majoris (Mirzam in Local Bubble of Scorpius OB2) 13.5 490 1.985 23,200 Evolution SIMBAD [104][105]
ε Persei A (in α Persei Cluster) 13.5 640 2.88 (combined) 26,500 Evolution SIMBAD [106][107]
ι Orionis Aa2 (in NGC 1980 of Orion Complex) 13.1 1,340 2.77 (combined) 27,000 Evolution SIMBAD [90][91]
δ Scorpii A (Dschubba in Upper Scorpius subgroup of Scorpius OB2) 13 440 2.307 (combined) 27,400 Evolution SIMBAD [108][109]
σ Orionis Ab (in Orion OB1 of Orion Complex) 13 1,260 4.07 (combined) 29,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [96][97]
θ Muscae Aa (WR 48 in Centaurus OB1) 11.5 7,400 5.53 (combined) 83,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [110][13]
γ2 Velorum A (WR 11 in Vela OB2) 9 1,230 1.83 (combined) 57,000 Spectroscopy SIMBAD [86][13]
ρ Ophiuchi A (in ρ Ophiuchi cloud complex of Scorpius OB2) 8.7 360 4.63 (combined) 22,000 Evolution SIMBAD [84][13]
γ Orionis (Bellatrix in Bellatrix Cluster of Orion Complex) 7.7 250 1.64 21,800 Evolution SIMBAD [111][13]
α Scorpii B (in Loop I Bubble of Scorpius OB2) 7.2 550 5.5 18,500 Evolution SIMBAD [112][87]
λ Tauri A (in Pisces-Eridanus stellar stream) 7.18 480 3.47 (combined) 18,700 Evolution SIMBAD [113][114]
δ Persei (in α Persei Cluster) 7 520 3.01 14,900 Evolution SIMBAD [84][102]
ψ Persei (in α Persei Cluster) 6.2 580 4.31 16,000 Evolution SIMBAD [84][13]
α Pavonis Aa (Peacock in Tucana-Horologium association) 5.91 180 1.94 17,700 Evolution SIMBAD [115][91]
η Tauri A (Alcyone in Pleiades) 5.9 440 2.87 (combined) 12,300 Evolution SIMBAD [116][13]
γ Canis Majoris (Muliphein in Collinder 121) 5.6 440 4.1 13,600 Evolution SIMBAD [84][117]
ο Velorum (in IC 2391 of Scorpius OB2) 5.5 490 3.6 16,200 Evolution SIMBAD [118][102]
ο Aquarii (in Pisces-Eridanus stellar stream) 4.2 440 4.71 13,500 Evolution SIMBAD [119][120]
ν Fornacis (in Pisces-Eridanus stellar stream) 3.65 370 4.69 13,400 Evolution SIMBAD [121][13]
φ Eridani (in Tucana-Horologium association) 3.55 150 3.55 13,700 Evolution SIMBAD [115][122]
η Chamaeleontis (in η Chamaeleontis moving group of Scorpius OB2) 3.2 310 5.453 12,500 Evolution SIMBAD [123][59]
ε Chamaeleontis (in ε Chamaeleontis moving group of Scorpius OB2) 2.87 360 4.91 10,900 Evolution SIMBAD [124][102]
τ1 Aquarii (in Pisces-Eridanus stellar stream) 2.68 320 5.66 10,600 Evolution SIMBAD [125][126]
ε Hydri (in Tucana-Horologium association) 2.64 150 4.12 11,000 Evolution SIMBAD [125][127]
β1 Tucanae (in Tucana-Horologium association) 2.5 140 4.37 10,600 Evolution SIMBAD [84][87]
Sun (in Solar System) 1 0.0000158 -26.744 5,772 Standard IAU [128][129][130]
  1. ^ For some methods, different determinations of chemical composition lead to different estimates of mass.
  2. ^ For a binary star, it is possible to measure the individual masses of the two stars by studying their orbital motions, using Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
  3. ^ The superwinds from massive stars are similar to the superwinds generated by asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars – red giants – that form planetary nebulae. These stars' later remnants become the (technically non-stellar) white dwarf cores of planetary nebulae.
  4. ^ For examples of stellar debris see hypernovae and supernova remnant.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o This is a binary system but the secondary is much less massive than the primary.
  6. ^ This unusual measurement was made by assuming the star was ejected from a three-body encounter in NGC 3603. This assumption also means that the current star is the result of a merger between two original close binary components. The mass is consistent with evolutionary mass for a star with the observed parameters.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Mercer 30 is an open cluster in Dragonfish Nebula.
  8. ^ N64 is an emission nebula in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  9. ^ BSDL 1830 is a star cluster in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  10. ^ BSDL 2527 is a star cluster in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  11. ^ BSDL 2505 is a star cluster in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  12. ^ DEM S10 is a H II region in Small Magellanic Cloud.
  13. ^ Bochum 10 is an open cluster in Carina Nebula.
  14. ^ N135 is an emission nebula in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  15. ^ N70 is an emission nebula in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  16. ^ DEM L294 is a H II region in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  17. ^ DEM S80 is a H II region in Small Magellanic Cloud.
  18. ^ a b GKK-A144 is a stellar association in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  19. ^ BSDL 2242 is a star cluster in Large Magellanic Cloud.
  20. ^ Vela R2 is a OB association in Vela Molecular Ridge.
  21. ^ IC 4996 is an open cluster in Cygnus OB1.

Black holes[edit]

Black holes are the end point evolution of massive stars. Technically they are not stars, as they no longer generate heat and light via nuclear fusion in their cores. Some black holes may have cosmological origins, and would then never have been stars. This is thought to be especially likely in the cases of the most massive black holes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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