“Silently, one by one, in the boundless meadows that heaven, blossomed the beloved stars, the forget-me-nots the the angels.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A tale of Acadie


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byJordan Strickler
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Image via Pixabay.

You are watching: Biggest known star in the universe

Carl Sagan once said that there were more stars in the cosmos than grains of sand indigenous every beach across the globe. Follow to a 2016 report released in the expensive Journal, that’s probably true.

The study based on data indigenous the Hubble an are Telescope over twenty years approximated that there space 2 sunshine galaxies in the cosmos — that’s galaxies, not stars. When you take into consideration that the Milky method — a rather median galaxy — has 100 come 400 exchange rate stars, you start to acquire an idea the just just how ginormous the cosmos really is.

So once we look in ~ the largest well-known star, there is a quite a large sample size. To obtain an idea, let’s take a look at our very own star. The sun actions 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) across. You can fit a million Earths in there, with room come spare. And also the sun is not also that large. In fact, our sun is pretty tiny as much as stars go. Technically speaking, it’s a yellow dwarf.


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Obviously, stars space a tiny harder come gauge 보다 planets together they are always flexing uneven planets which are, because that the many part, reasonably consistent. “The complication through stars is that they have diffuse edges,” to write astronomer Jillian Scudder of the college of Sussex. “Most stars don’t have a rigid surface ar where the gas ends and vacuum begins, which would have actually served together a harsh dividing line and easy mite of the finish of the star.”

This means that there is no certain surface wherein gases ends and also the vacuum starts. Astrophysicists then have to rely on a star’s photosphere, i beg your pardon is whereby the begin becomes transparent to light and photons deserve to escape the star.

With that said, so far, the winner of biggest star in the known universe probably goes come UY Scuti — a substantial red supergiant located in our very own Milky means galaxy in the constellation Scutum and measures about 750 million miles, or nearly eight huge units.


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You can fit 489 trillion Earths into the volume that this star. Put one more way, if you replaced our sunlight with UY Scuti, Saturn would take the ar of Mercury together the closest world to the sun — everything else would be engulfed through UY Scuti. If you take into account the star’s atmosphere, and the nebula the gas lost from the start, it would reach out to 400 huge units, 10 times further out than Pluto.

Our entire solar device couldn’t save the star and also its atmosphere.


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UY Scuti has actually a radius the 1,700 times bigger than our Sun.

The star is located just a few degrees phibìc of the A-type star Gamma Scuti and also northeast of the Eagle Nebula. While UY Scuti is really luminous, at its brightest, that is only nine magnitude once viewed from our house planet as result of its distance and also location in the Zone of Avoidance within the Cygnus rift.

“(W)hile UY Scuti is only roughly 30 times much more massive 보다 the sun, it has a radius what in the an ar of 1,700 times bigger than the radius that the sun,” claims Scudder. “This star is among a course of stars the varies in brightness since it varies in size, therefore this number is additionally likely to change over time.”

It to be originally found by German astronomers in ~ the Bonn Observatory in 1860 that were perfect a inspection of stars for the Bonner Durchmusterung mainly Catalogue. However, that wasn’t till 2012 once UY Scuti was perceived through the originally-named Very large Telescope making use of AMBER interferometry in Chile’s Atacama Desert that the fact of the star’s true size really fight home. This officially placed UY Scuti in the record books as the biggest star, topping previous document holders such together Betelgeuse, VY Canis Majoris and NML Cygni.

Based on current models the evolution, UY Scuti has started to fuse helium, and continues come fuse hydrogen in a shell approximately the core. The ar of the star deep within the Milky method suggests the UY Scuti is a metal-rich star. After fusing heavy elements, the star’s core will then begin to produce iron, i m sorry disrupts the balance that gravity and also radiation in the core and also results in a main point collapse supernova. That is then expected that stars prefer UY Scuti must evolve earlier to hotter temperatures to come to be a yellow hypergiant, luminous blue variable, or a Wolf–Rayet star.

One thing with stars is the mass and also physical volume don’t constantly necessarily correlate, particularly for the big ones. The gold medal for biggest mass goes to RMC 136a1 (usually abbreviated to R136a1). It likewise has the highest possible mass and luminosity of any known star, v a 315 solar mass and a 8.7 million solar luminosity. That is likewise one that the hottest, at about a steamy 53,000 levels Kelvin (94,940 Fahrenheit / 52,727 Celsius). When R136a1 come in at approximately 265 time as big as the sun, it is just 30 time the radius the it.

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So the next time girlfriend look at our sun (don’t do it too regularly though), simply think around the great stuff the the universe has to offer and wonder if there might be a star bigger which we just have not found yet.