Talk:NML Cygni

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Mass loss[edit]

The article says both that [The association] "has an estimated mass loss rate of 2×10^(−4) M⊙ yr ^(−1)" and that "The star has one of the largest mass loss rates at around 2 × 10-4 M per year". Which is it? (I was going to fix the formatting of the first one but then noticed the second) —Lidnariq (talk) 22:52, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

The first statement gives a misleading impression that it is talking about the whole association when it is actually talking about just NML Cygni. Associations don't have mass loss rates. Mass loss rates are a hot research topic right now, partly because we suddnely have the technology to measure them but also because theory and observation don't match up, with the apparent evolution of stars requiring much high mass loss than we can observe. BTW, this is an extreme mass loss rate for a star, exceeded only in the most violent stars such as erupting luminous blue variables. The only red supergiant that comes close to this is VY CMa: Lithopsian (talk) 23:25, 9 November 2012 (UTC)


For anyone planning to expand or do work to this article - I have created a draft article over at my userspace which anyone is welcome to help contribute to. I will be transferring it here when enough work has been done to it. Samwalton9 (talk) 22:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

This is on hold for now, don't have the time, so don't worry about editing the article here. Samwalton9 (talk) 11:39, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Radius 1650 times the radius of the sun[edit]

this article has been quoted as the source of the 1650 R. however, i could not find 1650 R in the article. all i could find was the following sentence on page 10: NML Cyg’s stellar size of 16.2 mas from Blöcker et al.(2001) was derived using the Stepan-Boltzmann law, adopting Teff=2500 K and a distance of 1.74 kpc. Rescaling this stellar diameter with our distance of 1.61 kpc gives 15.0 mas. well, mas are milli arc seconds, i suppose.

using*sin%2815+milliarcseconds%29 i get a diameter of 3.613 billion km. this is far from the 2.29 billion km for NML Cygni. can anyone explain, how the 1650 R were calculated? many thanks --Agentjoerg (talk) 04:29, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

The Stepan-Boltzmann Law is your friend. The luminosity and effective temperature define the size. The paper derives the effective temperature and luminosity of the star, although it never explicitly states a diameter (we are far more obsessed with this somewhat meaningless number than most scientists). Even the possible derived parameters in the paper allow for a huge range of possible diameters. This is unfortunate for a star that ended up at the top of Wikipedia's largest star list, but I can't find anything better out there. The S-B law is only approximate because of limb-darkening, other non-uniform disc luminosity features (sunspots are big news on a red supergiant), deviation from sphericity, and pulsations, but none of these problems affect the derived radius in any large or systematic way. Lithopsian (talk) 12:55, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Lithopsian, thanks for the quick answer. unfortunately, your answer is a little bit unsatisfactory (no offense intended). 1. when you google NML Cygni, the 1650 R pop up basically on every site. but where does the 1650 come from? somebody must have come up with this number and it's not the scientists, who have written the paper, that has been quoted as reference for the 1650. 2. The luminosity and effective temperature define the size. yep, but within wiki I must adhere to so i have to find a reference with the 1650 (or any other number) for NML Cygni, that i can use. anyway, thanks for your answer. I'll keep searching for the 1650 --Agentjoerg (talk) 14:10, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
You won't find that number. As I have explained, it is simply the radius corresponding to the published stellar parameters in that paper. It is not original research, it is a mathematical fact. It does seem though that you think someone has gone out with a ruler and measured the star. Far from it, that single number is a highly approximate value and could easily be double or half that value. Even if you could sit next to the star and measure it, the number is still meaningless since the star has the density of a helium balloon, tapering off in a wildly non-spherical atmosphere to an only slightly less dense shell of dust and gas larger than the solar system. Give up the search for an exact number, give up even the thought that an exact number has any meaning. I've edited the article to indicate a range of radii corresponding to possible physical parameters just from that single paper. Lithopsian (talk) 15:46, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Here's a paper that actually quotes a radius, approximately 3,738 times the solar radius. Take that with a pinch of salt, but the number is in the paper (in cm!). No doubt you can find other numbers in other papers, for what that is worth. Lithopsian (talk) 15:55, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Lithopsian, thanks for the link. I'll use the 2,6 * 10E14cm. that's just good for me. see, where all this began, was, that i wanted to create NML Cygni in the german wiki, so i started to check the references in the english article. and i was quite puzzled, that i couldn't find the 1650, where they were supposed to be. i was taking the 1650 for a fact, because of the reference. fascinating, that the french, spanish, italian wiki all use the 1650 for the radius (and a lot of other sites in the net as well). congratulations, your calculated 1650 have left a heavy footprint in the net. that you think someone has gone out with a ruler and measured the star certainly not, i'm aware of the fact, that there's some uncertainty. see, for the star UY Scuti i've found the 1708 ± 192 in the quoted reference and that's fine, so i used it for the article. i'm aware that measuring the size (or the mass) of the stars isn't that easy and there are uncertainties. well, i've used up enough of your time. thanks for your answers and the link. i'll certainly use it. cheers --Agentjoerg (talk) 06:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Check out the latest edit I made. I found a reasonable recent paper that puts an actual radius down in print. Not sure how I missed it before, maybe I need to spruce up my search techniques. The value is quite low at 1183 R (due to a temperature at the high end) which will no doubt disappoint some people. Lithopsian (talk) 16:43, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

@Lithopsian The 3.613 billion km/16.2 mas was also calculated by the Stefan-Boltzmann law, so how could you also calculate 1,650 R with the S-B law? @Agentjoerg Also, if you search up NML Cygni on Google, it now says 1,183 R. ----Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL 03:38, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

1650 was probably poor rounding of a rather desperate calculation when there was no better source. Does it matter? That number isn't in the article now and it isn't going to be in the article. What you found on Google is irrelevant, it was only copied from Wikipedia and we all know that Wikipedia is not a reliable source ;) Which means 99% of the internet is not a reliable source! Lithopsian (talk) 11:02, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Just to keep most people happy, I had to re-add 1,650 R (without removing 1,183 R, 1,638.96 R, and 2,769.84 R.) Anyway, Wikipedia is usually incomplete, and is usually considered by most people to be contrary to popular belief, etc. ----Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL 02:12, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

We're not here to keep people happy. Lithopsian (talk) 10:46, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Size review[edit]

The paper cites the photospheric measurement of the star as 22 mas. Given the distance of 5300 ly, this gives me 1,580 solar radii. Another paper gives 14 mas, giving 1,490 solar radii. Given luminosity of 300,000 L and temperature 3,300 K, this gives 1,750 solar radii. However, I was not consistent with my figures. I want to know exactly how the figure 1,650 solar radii was quoted. SkyFlubbler (talk) 22:37, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

The radius is not calculated from the angular radius. As explained in the paper, 16.2 mas is not a directly measured value. It was derived from assumed values of the temperature, luminosity, and distance. 1,650 is a rounded value for the most likely physical parameters given in the reference (3,250K and 270,000 L). This value was originally in this article and copied to the most luminous stars page. Now this article gives a range of radii from the possible physical parameters outlined in the most recent paper. It is unfortunate that a single highly approximate number caused one particular star to bubble up to the top of a list and then got quoted all over the internet as if it were carved in stone, but there you go. It will almost certainly change in a future paper, or another star will randomly bubble up to the top of the list, and people will blindly copy a different number onto all their blogs :( Lithopsian (talk) 10:52, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Do you found any papers lately concerning the Rosseland radius of this star? When I've averaged the values in the paper, it gives 1,580-2,090 solar radii. Concerning the 3250K with luminosity of 270,000L, I've got a value as low as 1,450 solar radii. How do you got that value, anyway? I think my formula is wrong. SkyFlubbler (talk) 13:05, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Don't you think that NML cygni's radius should be listed as 2212.5±562.5? Cause UY Scuti's is listed as 1708±192 and not 1516-1900. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (talk) 01:28, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Absolutely not. Nobody has ever published a (meaninglessly precise) number 2,212.5. 1,642 and 2,775 are two independent calculations without error ranges. We have no basis for averaging them or inventing a statistical error range, and even if we did have data for weighting them and performing statistical manipulation, that isn't Wikipedia's job. We're on shaky enough ground already deriving a radius from a luminosity and effective temperature. Lithopsian (talk) 11:44, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
@Lithopsian:@I am. furhan.:Please Lithopsian explain this absolutely appalling reverted edit here [1] The revert editor was a newbee, and this edit was questioned by aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, an all you can say is "We have no basis for averaging them or inventing a statistical error range, and even if we did have data for weighting them and performing statistical manipulation, that isn't Wikipedia's job." Says who? Most of this should be decided by collaboration or direct reference. All that is required is "Encyclopedic content must be verifiable." It says it a the top of this actual edit page!
Worse here, is that there is no reference (other than the text in the article), nor is it cited in the starbox. Anyone causally reading the starbox has no idea what "1,642 (– 2,775)(2,208.5?) R☉" actually means!!! (Please explain it before any future edits here!)
Lithopsian, do you understand what a "statistical error range" means. I.e. Planetary nebulae commonly use "statistical distances", and that is legitimately accepted even if it is ±50%. As long as the sources of the distances are quoted, it is perfectly to say some average value. If there are serious issues with some value or group of values, then just make a note at the end of the article – because it at least tells the casual reader and future editors what the hell is going on.
As for this earlier comment by Lithopsian[2] is absolute rubbish. Who says this? I.e. You say "It was derived from assumed values of the temperature, luminosity, and distance." Is this science or voodoo hocus pocus? Assumed how? The value is actually calculated R star (in solar units) = sqrt(Lstar / Lsun cor ⨉ Lsun / 4π ⨉ σ ⨉ Teff4 / Rsun ) or Rsun =10(0.5 ⨉ log L + 2 ⨉ log ( 5870 / Teff ), and assumes a black body. Rsun=696342 km. Lsun cor is the bolometric luminosity, and σ the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant c. 5.67x10-8 W.m-2.K-4. The inputs, though error-some, are still found by actual observations. It is not a guess and nor is it without an error.
But of course the real basic reason the size is inaccurate is because the outer atmosphere is so tenuous that there is no way of knowing where the photosphere begins and ends. Evolution-wise this phase is very short on astronomical time scales, as superwinds blow the material back into interstellar space. In the end, readers of Wikipedia articles should be offered some way of comprehending the given information. That our job!
Lithopsian, showing complete disdain for other editors in trying to express that, then having it thrown back in their faces, as exampled above, is again unacceptable. Using your own personal theory and personal speculation to justify this is even worse. WP:GF is central to all editors here. All editors have the right to edit and challenge edits. You are responsible for you own edits - including reverts. Accept it, or please do something else.
(This time you cannot wrongly blame the use of similar tactics as you similarly use against me.) Arianewiki1 (talk) 11:38, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

NML Cygni and VX Sagittarii's true range[edit]

(comment moved here from my talk page) Lithopsian (talk) 12:44, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
So if NML Cygni is 1183 solar radii, how come it isn't editted yet? Same for VX Sagittarii? (1350-1940) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

I'm not really sure what you're asking, but I'll have a go at it. The article has been changed to reflect the most recent (explicitly) published value that I've been able to find for the radius of NML Cygni. I'm sorry if this doesn't match preconceived notions of how large the star might be, should be, or actually is. Wikipedia must be based on verifiable and reliable sources, and it is difficult to find a more verifiable and reliable source. There are older sources that are clearly rendered obsolete by newer research, and newer sources that don't explicitly state a radius. Previous numbers in this article were derived from the luminosity and effective temperature published in Zhang 2012, but that is perilously close to original research, and in any case Zhang doesn't opt for one particular value, only describing previous research re-normalised to a new distance. Maybe you can describe some of this in the text to make clear just how uncertain that size of the star is, not to mention that it is a pulsating variable that changes its size to a significant degree. Lithopsian (talk) 13:08, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

NML Cygni's true size[edit]

Niyet' has been editing size for NML Cygni to be 1650 R, both in this article and in List of largest stars. I have reverted edits altering the size of NML Cygni from 1,183 to 1,650 R as the source cited, De beck, shows 1,183 R. However the article is wrong according to the source for NML Cygni. Regards— ~ The Omega Infinite CyberSpace Alpha X 16:23, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

NML Cygni was never the largest star[edit]

Turns out NML Cygni was never the largest star after all in 2012-2013, as I found the following information:

1,650 R☉ is NML Cyg's old size. The Zhang's reference says that size was 1,650 (-2,775) R☉ and the temperature (2,500–) 3,250 K and the De beck's reference says that the temperature is 3,834 K, If NML Cygni's temperature is 3,834 K, it means that NML Cygni's size is 1,183 R☉, If it is 2,500 K, its size would be 2,775 R☉ etc... because when the stars become warmer, they shrink, and cooler, they grow and the size of a giant, supergiant, hypergiant stars can change quickly. NML Cygni is listed as having a radius of 1,650 R☉ and being the largest star from 2012-2013. The NML Cygni article currently cites a size of 1,050 R☉ (it means that its temp is 4,074 K) from a 2010 paper. Clearly it wasn't the largest star in 2012 or 2013, It was WOH G64 (Not V838 Monocerotis because it was 380–1,570 R☉) with a size of 1,540-2,000 [1]R☉. And in general, when a range, use the small end of the range to sort, not the high end or some middle range and margin of error is not a range.

The 1,183 R☉ ref was made in 2010, so NML Cygni was only 1,183 R☉ all this time??????? I still use the old 1,650 R☉ for NML Cygni. So the 1,650, 2,208.5 and 2,775 for 2012 was never true. --Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL (talk) 05:19, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

We don't know the "true" size of any of these stars, and the margins of error in the values we do have are huge. Given that it is likely that the largest red supergiants are all a very similar size, the "largest known star" is likely to be the one which has the largest error in our current published values. For NML Cygni, two authors (de Beck and Zhang) have published slightly different data. Both are recent, but Zhang's is more recent and specifically about NML Cygni, with a new accurate distance. De Beck's paper is generic, calculating values for a wide selection of stars, and in other circumstances it would not be the preferred reference in the article. However, Zhang does not publish a actual radius so we would have to calculate it for ourselves which is less verifiable in Wikipedia terms. He doesn't even derive the temperature and luminosity, only adopted values from earlier (much older than de Beck) work, rescaled to the new distance. So we quote Zhang's distance and de Beck's physical properties. With a different approach we might just say that NML Cygni is somewhere between 1,183 R and 2,770 R (derived from 270,000 L and Teff 2,500 K which even Zhang says is an unsatisfactory temperature) with similar very large ranges for other stars, which would be neither right nor wrong but very unclear. Which is why we don't have a timeline of which star was the biggest when. Remember, none of these stars changed size (that we know of), we just keep changing our guesses. Lithopsian (talk) 10:36, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Also, I found these Portuguese videos that claim WOH G64 to be the largest star: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL (talkcontribs) 06:28, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

I could create a YouTube video and claim I was the largest star (might be fun to see how long before someone creates a Wikipedia article about me!), but it wouldn't be a very reliable source. The video creator might be a professional astronomer (or astronomical agency PR hack), but more likely it is some guy (or boy) in a basement who likes big stars and doesn't have a very robust approach to verifying the data. Or maybe just liked the name and went out searching for data to make it look like the largest star. Or it might even be a deliberate hoax - ever heard of fake news? Lithopsian (talk) 13:57, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

Good. I edited NML Cygni on the list of largest stars. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL (talkcontribs) 04:32, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

@Lithopsian maybe NML Cygni was the largest star in 2013 after all, but in reality it was 3.613 billion km and not 2.29 billion km. However, if that is true, it might still be the largest star. I think it would be best to leave it at 1,183 - 2,595 (~3,613,000,000/1,392,784) R. ----Joey P. - THE OFFICIAL 03:44, 6 October 2017 (UTC)