Epoch J2000 Equinox J2000
|Right ascension||20h 46m 25.54s|
|Declination||+40° 06′ 59.4″|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||16.60 (variable)|
|Apparent magnitude (K)||12.3|
|B−V color index||+2.04|
|Proper motion (μ)|| RA: −1.55 mas/yr |
Dec.: −4.59 mas/yr
|Parallax (π)||0.620 ± 0.047 mas|
|Radius||1,183 (1,640[a]-2,770[b]) R☉|
|Temperature||2,500 - 3,250, 3,834 K|
NML Cygni or V1489 Cygni is a red hypergiant (RHG) or red supergiant (RSG) in the constellation Cygnus. It is one of the largest stars currently known, and is also one of the most luminous and massive cool hypergiants, as well as one of the most luminous stars in the Milky Way. If placed at the center of the Solar System, its surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter or Saturn.
The distance of NML Cygni from Earth is estimated to be around 1.6 kpc, about 5,300 light-years. It is a part of the Cygnus OB2 association, one of the closest massive associations to the Sun, spanning nearly 2° on the sky or ∼30 pc in radius at the distance of ±0.2 kpc. 1.74
NML Cygni was discovered in 1965 by Neugebauer, Martz, and Leighton who described two extremely red luminous stars, their colour being consistent with a black body temperature of 1,000 K. The name NML comes from the names of these three discoverers. The second star was briefly referred to as NML Tauri but is now known as IK Tauri, an M9 Mira variable. NML Cygni has since also been given the designation V1489 Cygni on account of the small semi-regular brightness variations, but is still most commonly referred to as NML Cygni. Its composition began to be revealed with the discovery of OH masers (1612 MHz) in 1968. H
2O, SiO, CO, HCN, CS, SO, SO
2, and H
2S molecules have also been detected.
NML Cygni is a very large and luminous cool supergiant and is also a semiregular variable star with a period of either 1,280 or 940 days. It occupies the upper-right hand corner of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.
The bolometric luminosity (Lbol) for NML Cygni was originally calculated to be 500,000 L☉ at an assumed distance of kpc and the radius was calculated to be 3,740 R☉ based on an 2 mas angular diameter and distance. 8.6 [c] A 2006 study, similar to those conducted on VY Canis Majoris, suggests that NML Cygni is a normal red supergiant with consequently much lower luminosity and radius values. More modern and accurate measurements give a distance around , which gives a luminosity around 300,000 L☉. A radio angular diameter of 44 mas was given based on the distance, suggesting the optical angular diameter may be around 22 mas. 1.6 kpc This distance and luminosity were combined with assumptions of the effective temperature of the star, giving a radius of 1,640 R☉[a] for a temperature of 3,250 K or possibly 2,770 R☉[b] for a temperature of 2,500 K. However, another paper gives a much lower radius of 1,183 R☉ based on an assumed effective temperature of 3,834 K.
NML Cygni is evolved and a number of heavy elements and molecules have been detected in its atmosphere, particularly oxygen, hydroxyl, and water. It is surrounded by dusty material and it exhibits a bean-shaped asymmetric nebula that is coincident with the distribution of its H2O vapor masers.
NML Cygni has an estimated mass loss rate of 2×10−4 M☉ per year, one of the highest known for any star. The annual parallax of NML Cygni is measured to be around 0.62 milliarcseconds. From the observations, it is estimated that NML Cygni has two discrete optically thick envelopes of dust and molecules. The optical depth of the inner shell is found to be 1.9, whereas that of the outer one is 0.33. These dust envelopes are formed due to the strong post-main-sequence wind, which has a velocity 23 km/s.
Because of the star's position on the outskirts of the massive Cygnus OB2 association, the detectable effects of NML Cygni's radiation on the surrounding dust and gas are limited to the region away from the central hot stars of the association.
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