List of star extremes

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Stars are luminous balls of plasma which illuminate the universe. They come in various sizes and arrangements; their properties depending on their initial mass and their stage of stellar evolution.

Age and distance[edit]

Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Nearest star Sun 3rd century BC 1 AU Our local star's distance was first determined in the 3rd century BC by Aristarchus of Samos Reported for reference
Second-nearest star Proxima Centauri 1915 1.30 pc Also called Alpha Centauri C, it is the outlying star in a trinary star system. This is currently the nearest known neighbouring star to our own Sun. This star was discovered in 1915, and its parallax was determined at the time, when enough observations were established. [NB 1] [1][2] List of nearest stars
Most distant star Stars in UDFj-39546284 2011 z=11.9
Oldest star HD 140283 14.5±0.8 billion years the "Methuselah star" [3] List of oldest stars
Nearest stars by type
Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Nearest "average" star Alpha Centauri
A & B
Prehistoric 1.34 parsecs (4.4 ly) This was the third star whose parallax was determined. Before Alpha Cen, the record was held by 61 Cygni, the first star whose parallax was determined. [NB 1][NB 2][NB 3]
Nearest normal star Alpha Centauri C
(Proxima Centauri)
1915 1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly) Before Proxima, the title had been held by Alpha Centauri A&B. [NB 1][NB 3]
Nearest red dwarf Proxima Centauri 1915 1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly) [4][5]
Nearest degenerate star Sirius B 1852 8.6 light-years (2.6 pc) This is also the nearest white dwarf [NB 4]
Nearest neutron star RX J185635-3754 2000 200 light-years (61 pc) [6][7][8]
Nearest white dwarf Sirius B 1852 8.6 light-years (2.6 pc) Sirius B is also the first white dwarf discovered. [4][9]
Nearest flare star Proxima Centauri
(Alpha Centauri C)
1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly) α Cen C is also the nearest neighbouring star. [10]
Nearest brown dwarf Luhman 16 2013 6.5 light-years (2.0 pc) This is a pair of brown dwarfs in a binary system, with no other stars. [11]

Brightness and power[edit]

Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Brightest star Sun prehistoric m=−26.74 Reported for reference
[NB 5][NB 6]
Brightest star other than the Sun Sirius
(Alpha Canis Majoris)
prehistoric m=−1.46 [NB 5][NB 6][NB 7][NB 1] List of brightest stars
Brightest star in a transient event Progenitor of SN 1006 1006 m=−7.5 This was a supernova, and its remnant (SNR) is catalogued as PKS 1459-41 [NB 5][NB 6][NB 1] [12]
Dimmest star [NB 5][NB 6]
Most luminous star R136a1 2010 V=−12.5 [NB 8] [13] List of most luminous stars
Most luminous star in a transient event Progenitor of GRB 080916C 2008 V=-40 The star exploded in a gamma-ray burst with the total energy equal to 9,000 supernovae [NB 8] List of gamma-ray bursts
Least luminous normal star 2MASS J0523-1403 2013 V=20.6 [NB 3][NB 8] [14]
Most energetic star R136a1 2010 B= [NB 9] [13]
Most energetic star in a transient event Progenitor of GRB 080916C 2008 [NB 9]
Least energetic normal star 2MASS J0523-1403 2013 L=0.000126LSun [NB 3][NB 9] [14]
Hottest Normal Star Melnick 34 T=~ 63000 K
Coolest normal star 2MASS J0523-1403 2013 T=2074K [14]
Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Hottest degenerate star KPD 0005+5106
200000 K
200000 K
Hottest neutron star At least 100,000K
Hottest white dwarf KPD 0005+5106 2008 200000 K [17]
Hottest PG 1159 star/GW Vir star RX J2117+3412 1999 170000 K [18]
Coolest brown dwarf WISE 1828+2650 ≤300 K

Size and mass[edit]

Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Largest apparent size star Sun prehistoric
(3rd century BCE)
31.6 – 32.7′ The apparent size of the Sun was first measured by Eratosthenes in the 3rd Century BCE,[19] who was the second person to measure the distance to the Sun. However, Thales of Miletus provided a measurement for the real size of the Sun in the 6th century BCE, as 1720 the great circle of the Sun (the orbit of the Earth)[20] Reported for reference
[NB 6]
Largest apparent size star other than the Sun R Doradus 1997 0.057" This replaced Betelgeuse as the largest, Betelgeuse having been the first star other than the Sun to have its apparent size measured. [NB 6][NB 1] [21]
Smallest apparent size star [NB 6]
Most voluminous star UY Scuti r=1,708 ± 192 RSun Margin of error in size determination: ± 192 solar radii. At its smallest, its size would be similar to that of V354 Cephei. List of largest stars
Least voluminous normal star 2MASS J0523-1403 2013 r=0.086 RSun [NB 3] [22]
Most massive star R136a1 2010 315 MSun This exceeds the predicted limit of 150 solar masses, previously believed to be the limit of stellar mass, according to the leading star formation theories. [NB 10] [13] List of most massive stars
Least massive normal star VB 10 0.075 MSun [NB 3] List of least massive stars
Most massive stars by type
Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Most massive brown dwarf PPl 15 1996 80 MJupiter This is at the limit between brown dwarfs and red dwarfs.[23][24] [23][25][26][27]
Most massive degenerate star The most massive type of degenerate star is the neutron star. See Most massive neutron star for this recordholder. [NB 4]
Most massive neutron star PSR J0348+0432 2013 2.01 MSun This millisecond pulsar greatly exceeds the predicted limit of neutron star size of roughly 1.5 solar masses. The previous titleholder had slightly less mass, at 1.97 solar masses. [28] Black Widow Pulsar
Most massive white dwarf RE J0317-853 1998 1.35 MSun [29][30]
Least massive stars by type
Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Least massive brown dwarf List of least massive stars
Least massive degenerate star The least massive type of degenerate star is the white dwarf. See Least massive white dwarf for this recordholder. [NB 4]
Least massive neutron star
Least massive white dwarf SDSS J091709.55+463821.8
(WD J0917+4638)
2007 0.17 MSun [31][32][33][34]


Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Highest proper motion Barnard's Star 10.3 "/yr This is also the fourth closest star to the Solar System. [35][36]
Lowest proper motion
Highest radial velocity
Lowest radial velocity
Highest peculiar motion
Lowest peculiar motion
Highest rotational speed of a normal star VFTS 102 2013 600 km/s [NB 3] [37]
Lowest rotational speed

Planetary systems[edit]

Star systems[edit]

Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Least stars in a star system There are many stars in single star systems
Most stars in a star system Septuple star system Both are called 7-star systems in the 1997 MSC,[38] and appear in the 2008 MSC.[39] [NB 11] [38][39]
Stars in the closest orbit around one another There are many stars that are contact binaries, where the stars are in physical contact with each other
Stars in the most distant orbit around one another [NB 11]
Nearest multiple star system Alpha Centauri 1839 1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly) This was one of the first three stars to have its distance measured.[40][41] [4][42]
Star systems by type
Title Object Date Data Comments Notes Refs See more
Shortest period black hole binary system MAXI J1659-152 2013 2.4 hours This exceeds the preceding recordholder by about one hour (Swift J1753.5-0127 with a 3.2 hour period) [43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Other than the Sun
  2. ^ An "average" star is a normal star which is larger than a red dwarf, but smaller than a giant star. Depending on the definition, this can also be called "Sun-like star".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g A normal star is a star that is past its protostar period, in its main fusion period, before becoming a degenerate star, black hole, or post-stellar nebula, and is not a failed star (brown dwarf).
  4. ^ a b c Not including stellar-mass black holes, or exotic stars
  5. ^ a b c d By visual magnitude (m)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g This is the appearance in the sky from Earth.
  7. ^ This does not include brightest stars due to outbursts
  8. ^ a b c Luminosity here represents how bright a star is if all stars were equally far away, in visible light.
  9. ^ a b c Energetic here is the total electromagnetic energy emitted by a star in all wavelengths.
  10. ^ Not including stellar black holes
  11. ^ a b The allowable distance between components of a star system is debated.


  1. ^ (German) "Innes' Sterne bei α Centauri", Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 206, 1918 Bibcode1918AN....206...97H
  2. ^ Harold L. Aden, "Alpha and Proxima Centauri", Astronomical Journal, vol. 39, issue 913, 1918 Bibcode1928AJ.....39...20A
  3. ^ ScienceDaily, "Hubble Finds 'Birth Certificate' of Oldest Known Star", 7 March 2013
  4. ^ a b c Atlas of the Universe, "The Universe within 12.5 Light Years: The Nearest Stars", Richard Powell, 30 July 2006 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  5. ^ Universe Today, "How Far is the Nearest Star?", Fraser Cain, 13 November 2009 (accessed 2010-11-02)
  6. ^ NASA Images, "Hubble Sees Bare Neutron Star Streaking Across Space", NASA, 9 November 2000 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  7. ^ RedOrbit, "The Motion of RX J185635-3754 - The Nearest Neutron Star to Earth", 8 February 2005 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  8. ^ Astronomy 122: Astronomy of Stars and Galaxies, "Lecture 19: Neutron Stars", Sharon Morsink, University of Alberta, term:Winter 2011, published:2010 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  9. ^ BBC News, "Hubble finds mass of white dwarf", Christine McGourty, 14 December 2005 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  10. ^ Universe Today, "What is the Nearest Star to the Sun?", Fraser Cain, 7 October 2009 (accessed 2010-11-02)
  11. ^ SpaceDaily, "The Closest Star System Found in a Century", Barbara K. Kennedy, 12 March 2013
  12. ^ NOAO, "Astronomers Peg Brightness of History’s Brightest Star", 5 March 2003 (accessed 2010-10-25)
  13. ^ a b c Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, "The R136 star cluster hosts several stars whose individual masses greatly exceed the accepted 150 Msun stellar mass limit", Paul A Crowther, Olivier Schnurr, Raphael Hirschi, Norhasliza Yusof, Richard J Parker, Simon P Goodwin, Hasan Abu Kassim, Volume 408, Issue 2, pp. 731-751, October 2010, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17167.x , Bibcode2010MNRAS.408..731C , arXiv:1007.3284
  14. ^ a b c Dieterich, Sergio B.; Henry, Todd J.; Jao, Wei-Chun; Winters, Jennifer G.; Hosey, Altonio D.; Riedel, Adric R.; Subasavage, John P. (2014). "The Solar Neighborhood XXXII. The Hydrogen Burning Limit". arXiv:1312.1736Freely accessible. Bibcode:2014AJ....147...94D. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/147/5/94. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Indian News, "Astronomers discover Universes hottest white dwarf", ANI, 13 December 2008 (accessed 2010-11-09)
  18. ^ 11th European Workshop on White Dwarfs, ASP Conference Series #169, "RX J2117+3412, the hottest known pulsating PG 1159 star", Vauclair, G.; Moskalik, P.; The Wet Team, 1999, ISBN 1-886733-91-0 , Bibcode1999ASPC..169...96V , pg.96
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Thales of Miletus (c. 620 BCE – c. 546 BCE)", Patricia O’Grady, 17 September 2004 (accessed 2010-10-25)
  21. ^ ESO, "The Biggest Star in the Sky", 11 March 1997 (accessed 2010-10-25)
  22. ^ Katy, Garmany. "NOAO/SOAR: Where do stars end and brown dwarfs begin?". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Astrophysical Journal Letters, "Brown Dwarfs in the Pleiades Cluster Confirmed by the Lithium Test", Rebolo, R.; Martin, E. L.; Basri, G.; Marcy, G. W.; Zapatero-Osorio, M. R., v.469, p.L53, September 1996, doi:10.1086/310263 , Bibcode1996ApJ...469L..53R , arXiv:astro-ph/9607002
  24. ^ Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, 'In Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun: Ninth Cambridge Workshop', "An I. K Survey of the Pleiades", Jameson, R. F.; Hodgkin, S. T.; Pinfield, D. J., vol. 109, p. 363, eds. R. Pallavicini, A. K. Dupree, 1996, Bibcode1996ASPC..109..363J
  25. ^ SIMBAD, "Cl* Melotte 22 IPMBD 23" (accessed 2010-11-11)
  26. ^ Astronomy and Astrophysics, "Brown dwarfs in the Pleiades cluster: a CCD-based R, I survey", Zapatero Osorio, M. R.; Rebolo, R.; Martin, E. L., v.317, p.164-170, January 1997, Bibcode1997A&A...317..164Z , arXiv:astro-ph/9604079
  27. ^ Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, 'Proceedings of the 9th Cambridge workshop', "Lithium, rotation and activity in young clusters", Soderblom, D. R., volume 109, p.315, eds. Roberto Pallavicini, Andrea K. Dupree, October 1995, Bibcode1996ASPC..109..315S
  28. ^ Antoniadis, J.; Freire, P. C. C.; Wex, N.; Tauris, T. M.; Lynch, R. S.; Van Kerkwijk, M. H.; Kramer, M.; Bassa, C.; Dhillon, V. S.; Driebe, T.; Hessels, J. W. T.; Kaspi, V. M.; Kondratiev, V. I.; Langer, N.; Marsh, T. R.; McLaughlin, M. A.; Pennucci, T. T.; Ransom, S. M.; Stairs, I. H.; Van Leeuwen, J.; Verbiest, J. P. W.; Whelan, D. G. (2013). "A Massive Pulsar in a Compact Relativistic Binary". Science. 340 (6131): 1233232. arXiv:1304.6875Freely accessible. Bibcode:2013Sci...340..448A. doi:10.1126/science.1233232. 
  29. ^ Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, "The Record Breaking Magnetic White Dwarf RE J0317-853", Burleigh, M. R.; Jordan, S., Vol. 29, p.1234, January 1998, Bibcode1998AAS...191.1511B
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  31. ^ CfA, "Cosmic Weight Loss: The Lowest Mass White Dwarf", 17 April 2007 (accessed 2010-10-30)
  32. ^, "Special Stars: SDSS J091709.55+463821.8" (accessed 2010-10-30)
  33. ^ The Astrophysical Journal Letters, "No Neutron Star Companion to the Lowest Mass SDSS White Dwarf", Marcel Agüeros et al., Volume 700, Issue 2, pp. L123-L126, August 2009, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/700/2/L123 , Bibcode2009ApJ...700L.123A , arXiv:0906.5109
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  36. ^ Ohio State University, Astronomy 143: The History of the Universe (Fall 2009); "Stars and Galaxies in Motion", Barbara Sue Ryden, 15 October 2009 (accessed 2010-11-20)
  37. ^ Jiang, Dengkai; Han, Zhanwen; Yang, Liheng; Li, Lifang (2013). "The binary merger channel for the progenitor of the fastest rotating O-type star VFTS 102". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 428 (2): 1218. arXiv:1302.6296Freely accessible. Bibcode:2013MNRAS.428.1218J. doi:10.1093/mnras/sts105. 
  38. ^ a b Astronomy & Astrophysics Supplement Series, "MSC - a catalogue of physical multiple stars", Tokovinin, A. A., Vol. 124, July 1997, pp.75-84, July 1997, doi:10.1051/aas:1997181 , Bibcode1997A&AS..124...75T , VizieR (accessed 2010-10-27)
  39. ^ a b Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, "A catalogue of multiplicity among bright stellar systems", Eggleton, P. P.; Tokovinin, A. A., Volume 389, Issue 2, pp. 869-879, September 2008, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13596.x , Bibcode2008MNRAS.389..869E , arXiv:0806.2878v1 , VizieR (accessed 2010-10-27)
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