As seen from earth, stars look like tiny glittering specks in the night sky. But in reality, they are unimaginably huge, spanning millions of kilometres. Our sun is one of the ‘middle’ sized stars and yet 1.3 million Earths fit in it. There are stars thousands of times larger than Sun. With that in mind, here is the list of 10 largest stars in the universe.
*RS refers to radius of the sun.
10. SMC 018136
Radius = 1310 * RS
Also known as PMMR37, it is an M-type supergiant star. The star is located in Small Magellanic Cloud- a dwarf galaxy located 200,000 light-years away from Milky Way. Its radius is 1310 times the radius of the sun. It is so huge that if it were in the place of our sun, it would reach the orbit of Jupiter.
9. HR 5171
Radius : 1315 * RS
Located in the constellation of Centaurus about 12,000 light-years from Earth, this star is the largest yellow hypergiant star ever discovered. The star is part of the triple star system V766 Centauri. It is about a million times brighter than the sun and measures 1,315 times the radius of the sun.
Radius = 1353 * RS
HV888 is a red supergiant star located in Large Magellanic Cloud. It is at the distance of approximately 163,000 light-years from milky way galaxy. It has a radius of approx. 942 million kilometres, 1,353 times the radius of our sun.
7. IRAS 04509-6922
Radius = 1360 * RS
IRAS 04509-6922 is located at a distance of 160,000 light-years away from the Milky way in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The star has radius 1,360 times that of the sun, making it the 7th largest star.
6. AH Scorpii
Radius = 1411 * RS
AH Scorpii is a massive red giant star located in the constellation of Scorpius located in the southern hemisphere near the centre of Milky Way. It is located at a distance of 1,881.21 light-years from earth. Its radius is approximately 1,411 times the radius of the sun.
5. VY Canis Majoris
Radius = 1420 * RS
VY Canis Maoris is one of the largest and most luminous star in the Milky Way. Located at 1.2 kiloparsecs (3,900 light year) away from earth in the constellation of Canis Majora, this red giant star has a volume of about 3 billion times the volume of sun. The star has radius 1420 time the radius of our sun. If placed in the place of our sun it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter.
Radius = 1435 * RS
This red supergiant star is located at a distance of 22,000 light-years from Earth. It is a part of RSGC1 cluster. This star is the first catalogued star of the cluster. With the radius of 1,435 times the radius of the sun, it is the 4th largest star known.
Radius = 1498 * RS
Also located in RSGC1 cluster, RSGC1-F02 is supergiant red star with radius 1498 times the radius of the sun. It is at the final stage of its life. So, it will go supernova any time soon and its position as the third-largest star will be held by its brother RSGC1-F01.
2. Westerlund 1-26
Radius : 1530 * RS
Westerlund 1-26 is a red supergiant star located in Westerlund 1 cluster located at 3.2 kiloparsecs away from earth. With the diameter about 1,530 times that of sun, it will reach the orbit of Saturn: if placed in our sun’s position.
1. WOH G64
Radius = 1540 * RS
Discovered by Bengt Westerlund in 1970s, WOH G64 is the largest known star. It is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud in the southern constellation of Dorado. The star is assumed to be at a distance of 50,000 parsecs from the earth. Its radius is around 1,540 times that of the sun making it 3.65 billion times larger than the sun.
These are the 10 largest known stars, hitherto. There are hundreds of billions of stars in the unexplored part of our universe. So, this list is not absolute. While these stars are unquestionably large, it is almost certain that there are larger stars, beckoning for discovery. With the advancement in technology and astronomy, it is only a matter of time before we get a new “known” largest star.
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