10 biggest stars in the universe

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

In the night sky the stars seem distant, flickering lights very tiny. But this is not so. Stars are huge balls. incandescent matter, every second exploding thermonuclear reactions, and therefore luminous so bright that their rays reach of our planet from the very depths of the universe.

And the stars can be really huge. So much so that even The sun next to them seems to be a grain of sand. And in this material we collected the 10 largest stars in the universe.

Rating of the largest stars in the universe

Nomination a place star diameter
rating of the largest stars in the universe 10 Mu Cepheus 1260 SOLAR RADIUS
9 V766 Centauri 1315 SOLAR RADIUS
8 AH Scorpio 1411 SOLAR RADIUS
7 KY Swan 1420 SOLAR RADIUS
6 VX Sagittarius 1520 SOLAR RADIUS
5 Westland 1-26 1530 SOLAR RADIUS
4 RW Cepheus 1535 SOLAR RADIUS
3 Woh h64 1540 SOLAR RADIUS
2 VY Canis Major 1540 SOLAR RADIUS
1 UY Shield 2100 SOLAR RADIUS

10th place: Mu Cephei (1260 solar radii)

Rating: 4.1

Mu Cepheus (1260 solar radii)

Mu Cepheus is a red supergiant located in the constellation Cepheus. It features extremely high brightness (apparent magnitude is up to +3.5), as a result of which it can be observed with the naked eye. It was discovered back in 1780-1783 by the German astronomer William Herschel.

It was he who described the light of Mu Cephei as a deep red. Therefore her also periodically called the “Herschel pomegranate star.”

It is worth noting that Mu Cephei is an extremely unstable star. Being a red supergiant, she constantly changes glow, and brightness, and even shade. Therefore, in some periods of her easy to replace in the night sky, while others have to peer. So, the apparent magnitude varies from +3.4 to +5 with a period of 2 to 2.5 years.

Such instability suggests that the life cycle of Mu Cephei came to an end. She already completely burned in thermonuclear reactions all the hydrogen began to “destroy” helium. During several million years old it could explode a supernova and turn into a black hole.

Mu Cepheus is 1260 times larger than the Sun and is located on us from a distance of over 5200 light years.

9th place: V766 Centauri (1315 solar radii)

Rating: 4.2

V766 Centauri (1315 solar radii)

V766 Centauri (HR 5171 A) – the largest star in the constellation Centauri. Interestingly, she is a double yellow supergiant, i.e. by spectral characteristic (type of leaking thermonuclear reactions and glow temperature) is similar to ours the yellow dwarf. True, she has a companion – rotating on closeup small star HR 5171 B.

A companion star rotates so close to the Centauri V766 itself, which practically comes into contact with its surfaces. She is very small compared to the “neighbor”, about 48 times smaller, but still not attracted to the gravitational field of HR 5171 A. A companion star revolves around the V766 Centauri with a period of 1300 “our” days.

V766 Centauri 1315 times larger than the Sun, shining bright yellow color, and is located at a distance of 11700 light years from us. Has a apparent magnitude of + 6.51, it can be observed with the naked eye.

8th place: AH Scorpio (1411 solar radii)

Rating: 4.3

AH Scorpio (1411 solar radii)

AH Scorpio is the largest star in the constellation Scorpio, a dying red supergiant. She’s coming to the end of her evolution, even helium has almost exhausted. So you can expect that already in AH Scorpio will soon explode a supernova.

AH Scorpio has a low glow temperature of about 3700 K. The star is surrounded by a cloud of dust and gaseous oxygen with traces of silicon and even water vapor, which additionally absorbs the glow. Therefore with her naked eye it’s almost impossible to see – the brightness is only from + 9.6 up to +6.5. As a result, it will be possible to make out only with very faint flare of the sky and cloudless nights.

AH Scorpio is huge – it is 1411 times larger Of the sun. It shines with a faint red light and is located on a distance of 7400 light years from us.

7th place: KY Swan (1420 solar radii)

Rating: 4.4

KY Swan (1420 solar radii)

KY Swan is another dying red supergiant, the most a large star in the constellation Cygnus. Despite the impressive dimensions, it is invisible without a telescope. This is because KY Swan is at the final stage of stellar evolution and is quite could explode soon as a supernova.

KY Swan is a gaseous fading star. She is practically completely burned the “fuel” and therefore with a huge size differs in small weight. The outer shell is gaseous and strongly sparse. Due to the low density, problems arise with determining the exact size – it is not clear where it is distinction between stellar and interstellar gas. Therefore some researchers overestimate its diameter.

KY Swan is 1420 times larger than the Sun and about 25 times heavier. Moreover, its apparent magnitude is only +10.57, then have to see it without using a telescope or other special equipment will not work. The star shines faint red light with a temperature of 3500 K and is at a distance of a little more than 5100 light years from us.

6th place: VX Sagittarius (1520 solar radii)

Rating: 4.5

VX Sagittarius (1520 solar radii)

VX Sagittarius is interesting not only in size, but also in its “behavior”. This is a “pulsating” star, which over time becomes more or less. This behavior is due to the fact that VX Sagittarius could be about to explode like a supernova – almost everything she has already burned “fuel” in thermonuclear reactions.

However, VX Sagittarius is exposed to stellar wind, because of which it still has not exploded. Substance from its core constantly expiring into the surrounding space. As a result, VX Sagittarius is a very light star, and its outer shell consists of rarefied gas.

However, she is very bright – one of the brightest reds supergiants. But it is impossible to see her with the naked eye. Her the apparent value is from +14 to +6.5, so for observation you will need to use a telescope or similar equipment.

VX Sagittarius is on average 1520 times larger than the Sun and about 12 times heavier, shines with a bright red light with a temperature of 3575 K, and It is located at a distance of about 5300 light years from us.

5th place: Westland 1-26 (1530 solar radii)

Rating: 4.6

Westland 1-26 (1530 solar radii)

The red supergiant Westerland 1-26 is located in a cluster stars in the altar constellation. It is too far from us therefore not well understood. Even the star cluster itself Westerlund 1 was opened only in 1961.

Westland 1-26 is the largest star in this cluster. Is an red supergiant, although according to some research data she even deserves to be called a hypergiant. This is due to features of the space in which it is located.

So, around Westerland 1-26 is a huge cloud ionized hydrogen, which is not only “stellar fuel, “but also able to influence the luminosity and spectral radiation characteristic. Therefore, accurately determine the dimensions of the star does not seem possible.

According to the most reliable data, Westerland 1-26 is 1,530 times larger than the sun. It shines bright red with a temperature of 3600 K and is located at a distance of 11500 light years from us.

4th place: RW Cepheus (1535 solar radii)

Rating: 4.7

RW Cepheus

RW Cephei is a semi-regular variable red hypergiant, the most big star in the constellation Cepheus. Stays at one of the finals stages of evolution, as a result of which it constantly changes its physical size and degree of luminosity. Therefore, precisely determine its dimensions does not seem possible.

However, RW Cephei has a rather interesting future. On current evolutionary stage (red hypergiant) it has a non-standard large sizes and at the same time extremely small mass, which is 40 solar. Therefore, during an explosion, it can turn into hypernova – a much brighter flash than a supernova – and black hole.

According to the most reliable measurements, RW Cepheus 1535 times larger than the sun. This star shines a bright red light with temperature of 4015 K, but has a value of +6.52 – that is, with the naked eye it will be difficult to find it. RW Cepheus is located at a distance of 11500 light years from us.

3rd place: WOH H64 (1540 solar radii)

Rating: 4.

WOH H64

WHO H64 is not in our galaxy, but in the neighboring – in the Big Magellanic cloud. Distance from this star to planet earth amounts to an impressive 163 thousand light years. But this WOH H64 – this is a very familiar red supergiant, which, however, is quite spinning fast.

Due to the rotation around this star, gas and dust formed a rather unusual cloud is not a standard sphere, but a torus (something like a “bagel”). It partially traps red light WOH H64, due to which its brightness is slightly lower than calculated. Not less, this behavior of the red supergiant shows that the star dwells at one of the final stages of its evolution and the explosion with subsequent transformation into a supernova will happen within several tens of thousands of years.

WOH H64 cannot be seen without a telescope because its magnitude is only +9.69. Basic observations of this red the supergiant was conducted in the Chilean VLT laboratory.

According to estimates, WOH H64 is 1540 times larger Of the sun.

2nd place: VY Canis Major (1540 solar radii)

Rating: 4.

VY Big Dog

VY Canis Major is one of the largest stars in our galaxy. It is a traditional gas hypergiant, that is, it has colossal dimensions, but at the same time a relatively small mass. So, it is 11-15 times heavier than the Sun.

VY Canis Major is a bright star visible in the night sky. Her the apparent value varies from +9.6 to +6.5, so make it out it is possible only with an “armed” eye. What did the French astronomer Joseph Jerome de Lalande in 1801. For more than 200 years of observation, this red hypergiant managed to change the tint glow – from raspberry to burgundy, which means quickly ongoing evolution.

However, it is difficult to determine the exact dimensions and characteristics. this star. VY Canis Majoris is surrounded by a gas and dust cloud, which obstructs observation. In addition, she flashes periodically, throwing a huge amount of substance into outer space. AND finally, it is extremely loose, on its “surface” the gas is even stronger sparse than in the earth’s atmosphere, so determine the “end space and the star’s beginning is becoming difficult.

Astronomers agreed that VY of the Canis Major, according to preliminary estimate, 1540 times larger than the Sun. And located it is at a distance of about 3900 light years from our planet.

1st place: UY Shield (2100 solar radii)

Rating: 4.

UY Shield

UY Shield is the red hypergiant, the largest known on The present moment is a star in our galaxy (Milky Way). She in 2100 times the sun! But at the same time, like many other gas hypergiants, it is very light. The mass of the UY Shield is rated as 7-10 solar – and its density is even less than that of the atmosphere Of the earth.

UY Shield has been known for a long time. It was first introduced into star catalogs. back in 1860, and this was done by astronomers from the Bonn Observatory. It can only be seen with the “armed” eye – but enough powerful binoculars or a fairly simple telescope. UY Shield is located in the constellation of the same name, along the main ray of the Milky Way.

The apparent magnitude is +11.2. But this is due first the turn is that between us and the red hypergiant is a huge amount of interstellar dust. It is she who closes the light from this impressive star.

UY Shield shines with a bright red light with a temperature of 3365 K. According to 2018 studies, such a small mass is due to high burning rate of the substance. But in the end it shines very and very bright – if it were not for interstellar dust, it would be 5 visibility of the object in the sky.

UY Shield is located at a distance of about 9500 light years from planet Earth.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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