Astronomy:List of largest stars

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Relative sizes of the planets in the Solar System and several well-known stars:

Below is a list of the largest stars currently known, ordered by radius. The unit of measurement used is the radius of the Sun (approximately 695,700 km; 432,300 mi).

The angular diameters of stars can be measured directly using stellar interferometry. Other methods can use lunar occultations or from eclipsing binaries, which can be used to test indirect methods of finding stellar radii. Only a few useful supergiant stars can be occulted by the Moon, including Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A). Examples of eclipsing binaries are Epsilon Aurigae (Almaaz), VV Cephei, and V766 Centauri (HR 5171). Angular diameter measurements can be inconsistent because the boundary of the very tenuous atmosphere (opacity) differs depending on the wavelength of light in which the star is observed.

Uncertainties remain with the membership and order of the list, especially when deriving various parameters used in calculations, such as stellar luminosity and effective temperature. Often stellar radii can only be expressed as an average or be within a large range of values. Values for stellar radii vary significantly in different sources and for different observation methods.

All the sizes stated in this list have various inaccuracies and may be disputed. This list is still a work in progress and various parameters are extremely disputed.

Caveats

Comparison of the sizes of several stars. From left to right are Cygnus OB2#12 (blue hypergiant), V382 Carinae (yellow hypergiant), V915 Scorpii (orange hypergiant) and the extreme red supergiants UY Scuti and Stephenson 2-18. The orbits of Saturn and Neptune are also shown for comparison.

Various issues exist in determining accurate radii of the largest stars, which in many cases do display significant errors. The following lists are generally based on various considerations or assumptions; these include:

  • Stellar radii or diameters are usually derived only approximately using Stefan–Boltzmann law for the deduced stellar luminosity and effective surface temperature.
  • Stellar distances, and their errors, for most stars, remain uncertain or poorly determined.
  • Many supergiant stars have extended atmospheres, and many are within opaque dust shells, making their true effective temperatures and surfaces highly uncertain.(citation?)
  • Many extended supergiant atmospheres also significantly change in size over time, regularly or irregularly pulsating over several months or years as variable stars. This makes adopted luminosities poorly known and may significantly change the quoted radii.
  • Other direct methods for determining stellar radii rely on lunar occultations or from eclipses in binary systems. This is only possible for a very small number of stars.
  • In this list are some examples of extremely distant extragalactic stars, which may have slightly different properties and natures than the currently largest-known stars in the Milky Way. For example, some red supergiants in the Magellanic Clouds are suspected to have slightly different limiting temperatures and luminosities. Such stars may exceed accepted limits by undergoing large eruptions or changing their spectral types over just a few months (or potentially years).[1][2]

List

List of the largest stars
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Method[lower-alpha 1] Notes
LGGS J004539.99+415404.1 1,980[3]–2,377[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
Orbit of Saturn 1,940–2,169 Reported for reference
MSX LMC 597 (W60 A27) 1,882–1,953[5] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LGGS J004520.67+414717.3 1,870[3]–2,510[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
UY Scuti 1,708 ± 192[6] AD This value was based on an angular diameter and distance of 2.9 kpc. Gaia Data Release 2 suggests a distance of 1.55 kpc and a consequently smaller radius of 755 R.[7] However, the Gaia parallax is considered unreliable (until further observations) due to a very high level of astrometric noise.[8]
LGGS J003919.11+404319.2 1,685[9] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
WOH S71 (LMC 23095) 1,662[10]–1,896[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 2242 (WOH S69) 1,645[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LGGS J013339.28+303118.8 1,565[11]–1,863[4] L/Teff Located in the Triangulum Galaxy
WOH G64 1,540 ± 77[12][13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LGGS J013312.26+310053.3 1,537[11]–1,765[4] L/Teff Located in the Triangulum Galaxy
MSX LMC 1204 (WOH S72) 1,537–1,709[5] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
W61 8-88 (WOH S465) 1,491[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 888 (WOH S140) 1,477[14]–1,974[15] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Another recent estimate gives 1,765 R.[2]
UCAC4 116-007944 (MSX LMC 810) 1,468[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
W60 A78 (WOH S459) 1,445[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 12998 (WOH S369) 1,443[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
W60 A72 (WOH S453) 1,441[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
VY Canis Majoris 1,420 ± 120[16][17] AD Used to be described as the largest known star based on a radius of 1,800–2,100 R.[18] Older estimates gave the radius of VY CMa as above 3,000 R,[19] or as little as 600 R.[20] Matsuura et al. 2013 estimates 2,069 R based on a luminosity of 237,000 L and an assumed effective temperature of 2,800 K.[21][22]
WOH S286 1,417[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
AH Scorpii 1,411 ± 124[6] AD AH Sco is a variable by nearly 3 magnitudes in the visual range, and an estimated 20% in luminosity. The variation in diameter is not clear because the temperature also varies.
LGGS J004428.48+415130.9 1,410[3]–1,504[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
MG73 46 (MSX LMC 891) 1,385[15]–1,838[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
WOH S281 (IRAS 05261-6614) 1,376[23]–1,459[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05280-6910 1,367[10]–1,738[24] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
S Persei 1,364 ± 6[25] AD A red supergiant located in the Perseus Double Cluster. Levesque et al. 2005 calculated radii of 780 R and 1,230 R based on K-band measurements.[26] Older estimates gave up to 2,853 R based on higher luminosities.[27]
PHL 293B 1,348–1,463[28] L/Teff A luminous blue variable star located in the low metallicity galaxy PHL 293B. It is thought to have disappeared.
LGGS J013414.27+303417.7 1,342[11]–1,953[4] L/Teff Located in the Triangulum Galaxy
HV 5993 (WOH S464) 1,319[15]–1,531[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SW Cephei 1,308[29] AD
Stephenson 2 DFK 2 1,301[30] L/Teff Located in the massive open cluster Stephenson 2.
Stephenson 2 DFK 49 1,300[30] L/Teff Located in the massive open cluster Stephenson 2.
LGGS J004312.43+413747.1 1,270[3]–1,630[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LGGS J004514.91+413735.0 1,250[3]–1,575[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LGGS J004428.12+415502.9 1,240[3]–1,259[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
IRAS 05346-6949 1,211[12]–2,064[5] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LGGS J004125.23+411208.9 1,200[3]–1,602[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
HD 90587 1,191[29] AD
NML Cygni 1,183[31] L/Teff
LGGS J004524.97+420727.2 1,170[3]–1,476[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
Westerlund 1-26 1,165–1,221[32] L/Teff Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not.


W60 B90 (WOH S264) 1,149[23]–2,555[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HD 62745 1,145[29] AD
LGGS J004047.22+404445.5 1,140[3]–1,379[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LGGS J004035.08+404522.3 1,140[3]–1,354[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
MY Cephei 1,134[33]–2,061[34] L/Teff Not to be confused with Mu Cephei (see below). Older estimates have given up to 2,440 R based on much cooler temperatures.[35]
LGGS J004124.80+411634.7 1,130[3]–1,423[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
ST Cephei 1,109[29] AD
HD 102115 1,100[29] AD
LGGS J004107.11+411635.6 1,100[3]–1,207[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LGGS J004031.00+404311.1 1,080[3]–1,383[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
V366 Andromedae 1,076[29] AD
Trumpler 27-1 1,073[7] L/Teff Located in the massive possible open cluster Trumpler 27
LGGS J004531.13+414825.7 1,070[3]–1,420[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
IM Cassiopeiae 1,068[29] AD
Orbit of Jupiter 1,064–1,173 Reported for reference


HR 5171 Aa (V766 Centauri Aa) 1,060–1,160[36] L/Teff
SU Persei 1,048[29] AD




Template:List of largest stars row[37]


LGGS J004114.18+403759.8 1,040[3]–1,249[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
AS Cephei 1,026[29] AD
LGGS J004125.72+411212.7 1,020[3]–1,359[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LGGS J004059.50+404542.6 1,020[3]–1,367[4] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
HD 167861 1,016[29] AD
HV 986 (WOH S368) 1,010[38] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
The following stars with sizes below 1,000 solar radii are shown for comparison.
CZ Hydrae 986[39] L/Teff One of the coolest stars at 2000 K.[39]
Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 972 ± 228[40] L/Teff Prototype of the obsolete class of the Mu Cephei variables and also one of reddest stars in the night sky in terms of the B-V color index.[41] Other estimates have given as high as 1,650 R based on angular diameter.[42]
V602 Carinae 932[7]–1,151[29] AD
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 764+116
−62
[43]
AD Star with the third largest apparent size after R Doradus and the Sun. Brightest red supergiant in the night sky. Another estimate gives 955±217 R[44]
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 707[29] AD Antares was originally calculated to be over 850 R,[45][46] but those estimates are likely to have been affected by asymmetry of the atmosphere of the star.[47]
V354 Cephei 685[7] L/Teff
KY Cygni 672[7]–1,420[26][48] L/Teff
Orbit of Ceres 595 (550–641) Reported for reference
119 Tauri (CE Tauri) 587–593[49] AD Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
CW Leonis 580–686[50] L/Teff Prototype of carbon stars. CW Leo was mistakenly identified as the claimed planet "Nibiru" or "Planet X".
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 541[31] AD Prototype Mira variable. De beck et al. 2010 calculates 541 R.[31]
VV Cephei A 516[51]–1,000[52] EB 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. Data from the most recent eclipse has cast additional doubt on the accepted model of the system. Older estimates give up to 1,900 R[26]
V382 Carinae (x Carinae) 485 ± 40[53] AD Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Pistol Star 435[54] AD Blue hypergiant, among the most massive and luminous stars known.
HD 179821 400–450[36] DSKE V1427 Aquilae may be a yellow hypergiant or a much less luminous star.
V509 Cassiopeiae 390–910[55] AD Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Inner limits of the asteroid belt 380 Reported for reference
IRC +10420 380[56] L/Teff A yellow hypergiant that has increased its temperature into the LBV range. De beck et al. 2010 calculates 1,342 R based on a much cooler temperature.[31]
V688 Monocerotis 372[39] L/Teff Also one of the coolest stars at 2000 K.[39]
R Doradus 298 ± 21[57] AD Star with the second largest apparent size after the Sun.
Orbit of Mars 297–358 Reported for reference
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 289[29]–352[58] AD and L/Teff Referred to as La Superba by Angelo Secchi. Currently one of the coolest and reddest stars.
Sun's red giant phase 256[59] At this point, the Sun will engulf Mercury and Venus, and possibly the Earth although it will move away from its orbit since the Sun will lose a third of its mass. During the helium burning phase, it will shrink to 10 R but will later grow again and become an unstable AGB star, and then a white dwarf after making a planetary nebula.[60][61] Reported for reference
Rho Cassiopeiae 242[29] AD Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Eta Carinae A ~240[62] Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realized to be a binary system. During the Great Eruption, the size was much larger at around 1,400 R.[63] η Car is calculated to be between 60 R and 881 R.[64]
Orbit of Earth 215(211–219) Reported for reference
Solar System Habitable Zone 200–520[65] (uncertain) Reported for reference
Orbit of Venus 154–157 Reported for reference
Epsilon Aurigae A (Almaaz A) 143–358[66] AD ε Aurigae was incorrectly claimed in 1970 as the largest star with a size between 2,000 R and 3,000 R,[67] even though it later turned out not to be an infrared light star but rather a dusk torus surrounding the system.
Deneb (Alpha Cygni) 99.84[29] AD Prototype Alpha Cygni variable.
Peony Star 92[68] AD Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 71[69] AD Second brightest star in the night sky.
Orbit of Mercury 66–100 Reported for reference
LBV 1806-20 46–145[70] L/Teff Formerly a candidate for the most luminous star in the Milky Way with 40 million L,[71] but the luminosity has been revised later only 2 million L.[72][73]
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.13 ± 0.84[74] AD Fourteenth brightest star in the night sky
R136a1 39.2[75] L/Teff Also on record as one of the most massive and luminous stars known (215 M and 6.2 million L).
Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris) 37.5[76] AD The current northern pole star.
Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) 24.25[29] AD Brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere.
HDE 226868 20–22[77] The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is around 500,000 times smaller than the star.
Sun 1 The largest object in the Solar System.
Reported for reference
  1. Methods for calculating the radius:
    • AD: radius determined from angular diameter and distance
    • L/Teff: radius calculated from bolometric luminosity and effective temperature
    • DSKE: radius calculated using the disk emission
    • EB: radius determined from observations of the eclipsing binary

See also

References

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