List of largest 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; 432,288 mi).

The exact order of this list is very incomplete, as great uncertainties currently remain, especially when deriving various important parameters used in calculations, such as stellar luminosity and effective temperature. Often stellar radii can only be expressed as an average or within a large range of values. Values for stellar radii vary significantly in sources and throughout the literature, mostly as the boundary of the very tenuous atmosphere (opacity) greatly differs depending on the wavelength of light in which the star is observed.

Radii of several stars can be directly obtained by stellar interferometry. Other methods can use lunar occultations or from eclipsing binaries, which can be used to test other indirect methods of finding true stellar size. Only a few useful supergiant stars can be occulted by the Moon, including Antares and Aldebaran. Examples of eclipsing binaries are Epsilon Aurigae, VV Cephei, and HR 5171.


The extreme red hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris compared to the Sun and Earth's orbit.

Complex issues exist in determining the true 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:

  • Largest stars are usually expressed in units of the solar radius (R), where 1.00 R equals 695,700 kilometres.
  • 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, remain uncertain or poorly determined.
  • Many supergiant stars have extended atmospheres, and many are embedded within opaque dust shells, making their true effective temperatures highly uncertain.
  • 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.
  • Based on various theoretical evolutionary models, few red supergiants will exceed 1,500 times the Sun (roughly 3,000–3,715 K and Mbol = −9 or 300,000 L).[clarification needed] Such limits maybe also depend on the stellar metallicity.[1]

Extragalactic large stars

In this list are some examples of more distant extragalactic stars, which may have slightly different properties and natures than the currently largest known stars in the Milky Way:


List of the largest stars
Star name Solar radii
(Sun = 1)
Method[a] Notes
Orbit of Saturn 1,940–2,169 Reported for reference
UY Scuti 1,708±192[3] AD This value was based on an angular diameter and distance of 2.9 kpc. Gaia DR2 suggests a closer distance and consequently smaller radius. Van Loon et al. calculates 825 R.[4]
WOH G64 1,540–2,575[5] L/Teff This would be the largest known star in the LMC, but is unusual in position and motion and might still be a foreground halo giant.
Westerlund 1-26 1,530–1,580[6] (–2,550) [7] L/Teff Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not.
RSGC1-F02 1,498[8] L/Teff
HD 143183 1,469–1,478[9] L/Teff
RSGC1-F01 1,435[8] L/Teff
VY Canis Majoris 1,420[10] AD VY CMa is described as the largest star in the Milky Way although galactic red supergiants above are possibly larger but they have less accurate radius estimates.[11] Older estimates originally estimated the radius of VY CMa to be above 3,000 R.[12] Margin of error in size determination: ±120 R.[10]
KY Cygni 1,420–2,850[1] L/Teff The upper estimate is due to an unusual K-band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error, and is thought to be against stellar evolutionary theory. The lower estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models.
AH Scorpii 1,411±124[3] AD AH Sco is variable by nearly 3 magnitudes in the visual range, and an estimated 20% in total luminosity. The variation in diameter is not clear because the temperature also varies.
IRAS 04509-6922 1,360[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 888 1,353[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HR 5171 A 1,315±260[14] AD HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary. It is also variable in temperature, thus probably also in diameter. Traditionally, it is considered as the largest known yellow hypergiant, although the latest research suggests it is a red supergiant with a radius of 1,492±540 R or 1,575±400 R.[15][16]
SMC 18136 1,310[2] L/Teff Located in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
IRAS 05280-6910 1,260[13]–1,738[17] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Mu Cephei (Herschel's "Garnet Star") 1,260[18]–1,650[19] L/Teff & AD 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.[20] Other estimates have given only 650 R based on much closer distances.[21]
SP77 46-44 (WOH S341) 1,258[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 136042 1,240[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Westerlund 1-237 1,233[7] L/Teff
SMC 5092 1,220[2] L/Teff
S Persei 1,212±124[22] AD & L/Teff A red hypergiant localed in the Perseus Double Cluster. Levsque et al. 2005 calculated radii of 780 R and 1,230 R based on K-band measurements.[1] Older estimates gave up to 2,853 R based on higher luminosities.[23]
LMC 175464 1,200[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
LMC 135720 1,200[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRC -10414 1,200[24] L/Teff IRC -10414 is a rare red supergiant companion to WR 114 that has a bow shock.
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,190–1,940[1] L/Teff The upper estimate is due to an unusual K-band measurement and thought to be an artefact of a reddening correction error. The lower estimate is consistent with other stars in the same survey and with theoretical models, and the intermediate ones have been obtained refining the distance to this star, and thus its parameters.[25]
SMC 69886 1,190[2] L/Teff
NML Cygni 1,183[26] L/Teff NML Cyg is calculated to be between 1,640 R and 2,770 R based on a more accurate measure of its distance combined with assumptions of its temperature.[27]
RSGC1-F05 1,177[8] L/Teff
EV Carinae 1,168[4] L/Teff Older estimates based on much larger distances have given higher luminosities, and consequently larger radii.[28][23]
RSGC1-F03 1,168[8] L/Teff
LMC 119219 1,150[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
RSGC1-F08 1,146[8] L/Teff
BC Cygni 1,140[1]–1,230[18] L/Teff BC Cyg is calculated to vary in size from 856 R to 1,553 R.[29]
MY Cephei 1,134[30] L/Teff Not to be confused with Mu Cephei (see above). Older estimates have given up to 2,440 R based on much cooler temperatures.[31]
J004035.08+404522.3 1,130–1,230[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
SMC 10889 1,130[2] L/Teff
VX Sagittarii 1,120–1,550[33] L/Teff VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range and is calculated to vary in size from 1,350 R to 1,940 R.[34]
LMC 141430 1,110[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 04516-6902 1,100[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 175746 1,100[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
RSGC1-F13 1,098[8] L/Teff
RT Carinae 1,090[1] L/Teff
RSGC1-F04 1,082[8] L/Teff
LMC 174714 1,080[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 68125 1,080[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 49478 1,080[2] L/Teff
SMC 20133 1,080[2] L/Teff
V396 Centauri 1,070[1] L/Teff
SMC 8930 1,070[2] L/Teff
Orbit of Jupiter 1,064–1,173 Reported for reference
HV 11423 1,060–1,220[35] L/Teff HV 11423 is variable in spectral type (observed from K0 to M5), thus probably also in diameter. In October 1978, it was a star of M0I type.
CK Carinae 1,060[1] L/Teff
SMC 25879 1,060[2] L/Teff
VV Cephei A 1,050[36]-1,400[37] AD 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 3,000 R[38]
LMC 142202 1,050[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 146126 1,050[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 67982 1,040[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
U Lacertae 1,022[28][39] L/Teff
RSGC1-F11 1,015[8] L/Teff
LMC 143877 1,010[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
KW Sagittarii 1,009[3]–1,460[1] AD & L/Teff Margin of possible error: ±142 R.[3]
RSGC1-F12 1,005[7] L/Teff
Progenitor of SN 2017eaw 1,000–2,000[40] L/Teff Located in NGC 6946
SMC 46497 990[2] L/Teff
LMC 140296 990[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
RSGC1-F09 986[8] L/Teff
RW Cephei 981–1,758[41] L/Teff RW Cep is variable both in brightness (by at least a factor of 3) and spectral type (observed from G8 to M0), thus probably also in diameter. Because the spectral type and temperature at maximum luminosity are not known, the quoted sizes are just estimates.
NR Vulpeculae 980[1] L/Teff
SMC 12322 980[2] L/Teff
LMC 177997 980[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 59803 970[2] L/Teff
Westerlund 1-20 965[7] L/Teff
GCIRS 7 960[42]–1,000[43] AD Located at the galactic center. Margin of possible error: ±92 R[42] or ±150 R.[43]
HV 2561 957[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 50840 950[2] L/Teff
J004424.94+412322.3 945–1,300[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy.
HV 916 944[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
RSGC1-F10 931[8] L/Teff
S Cassiopeiae 930[44][45]
IX Carinae 920[1] L/Teff
HV 2112 916[46] L/Teff Most likely candidate for a Thorne-Zytkow Object.
RSGC1-F07 910[8] L/Teff
LMC 54365 900[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 04498-6842 900[47]–1,660[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 996 894[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
NSV 25875 891[26] L/Teff
LMC 109106 890[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 12501 890[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 887±203[48] AD Star with the third largest apparent size after R Doradus and the Sun. Another estimate gives 955±217 R[49]
RSGC1-F06 885[8] L/Teff
LMC 116895 880[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 30616 880[2] L/Teff
LMC 64048 880[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05558-7000 880[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
V437 Scuti 874[26] L/Teff
IRAS 04407-7000 870[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05329-6708 870[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 986 867[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
V602 Carinae 860[1]–1,050[50] L/Teff & AD Margin of possible error: ±165 R.[50]
J004047.82+410936.4 860–1,010[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
V669 Cassiopeiae 859[26] L/Teff
HV 2360 857[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
HV 5870 856[4] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
BI Cygni 850[18]–1,240[1] L/Teff
SMC 55681 850[2] L/Teff
SMC 15510 850[2] L/Teff
LMC 61753 830[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 62090 830[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 11709 830[2] L/Teff
V1185 Scorpii 830[26] L/Teff
LMC 142199 810[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05294-7104 810[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05402-6956 800[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 134383 800[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
V441 Persei 799[7] L/Teff
BU Persei 795[7] L/Teff
IRAS 05298-6957 790[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
BO Carinae 790[1] L/Teff
LMC 142907 790[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SU Persei 780[1] L/Teff In the Perseus Double Cluster
RS Persei 770[51]–1,000[1] AD & L/Teff In the Perseus Double Cluster. Margin of possible error: ±30 R.[51]
AV Persei 770[1] L/Teff In the Perseus Double Cluster
V355 Cephei 770[1] L/Teff Mauron et al. 2011 derive 37,000 L, which implies a size around 300 R.[28]
J004124.80+411634.7 760–1,240[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy and has a possible hot companion.
V915 Scorpii 760[52][53] L/Teff
S Cephei 760[54] AD
YZ Persei 758[7] L/Teff
J004447.08+412801.7 755–825[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
GP Cassiopeiae 751[7] L/Teff
Outer limits of the asteroid belt 750–900 Reported for reference
SMC 11939 750[2] L/Teff
HD 303250 750[1] L/Teff
V382 Carinae 747[55] Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star. Other estimate ranges of 600 R to 1,100 R.[56]
R Cygni 745[57][58] L/Teff
RU Virginis 740[59] L/Teff
LMC 137818 740[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 48122 740[2] L/Teff
IRAS 04545-7000 730[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
IRAS 05003-6712 730[13] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC 56732 730[2] L/Teff
WOH SG374 730[60] L/Teff
KK Persei 724[7] L/Teff
V648 Cassiopeiae 710[1] L/Teff
XX Persei 710[7] L/Teff Located in the Perseus Double Cluster and near the border with Andromeda.
HD 179821 704±259[61] HD 179821 may be a yellow hypergiant or a much less luminous star.
J004255.95+404857.5 700–785[32] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
J003950.98+405422.5 700[62] L/Teff Located in the Andromeda Galaxy
LMC 169754 700[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
LMC 65558 700[2] L/Teff Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud
V528 Carinae 700[1] L/Teff
RSGC1-F14 700[8] L/Teff
SP77 30-6 (WOH S66) 700[60] L/Teff
The following well-known stars are listed for the purpose of comparison.
V354 Cephei 689[28]–1,520[1] L/Teff
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) 680[63] (varies by 19%)[64] AD Antares was originally calculated to be over 850 R,[65][66] but those estimates are likely to have been affected by asymmetry of the atmosphere of the star.[63]
HR 5171 Ab 650±150[16] AD The yellow giant or supergiant companion of HR 5171 A.
CE Tauri 587–593[67] (–608[68]) AD Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
V509 Cassiopeiae (HR 8752) 400–900[69] L/Teff Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
R Leporis (Hind's "Crimson Star") 400[70]–535[71] AD & L/Teff Margin of possible error: ±90 R.[70]
Rho Cassiopeiae 400–500[72] L/Teff Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Inner limits of the asteroid belt 380 Reported for reference
CW Leonis 390[73]–826[26] L/Teff Prototype of carbon stars. CW Leo was mistakenly identified as the claimed planet "Nibiru" or "Planet X".
V838 Monocerotis 380 (in 2009)[74] A short time after the outburst V838 Mon was measured at 1,570 ± 400 R,[75] but its distance, and hence its size, have since been reduced and it proved to be a transient object that shrunk about four-fold over a few years. Like CW Leo, it has been erroneously portrayed as "Nibiru" or "Planet X" (see above).
R Doradus 370±50[76] AD Star with the second largest apparent size after the Sun.
Tail of Comet Hyakutake 360 Reported for reference
IRC +10420 357[77] 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.[26]
The Pistol Star 340[78] AD Blue hypergiant, among the most massive and luminous stars known.
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 332–402[79] AD Prototype Mira variable. De beck et al. 2010 calculates 541 R.[26]
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 307[26]–390[80] L/Teff Referred to as La Superba by Angelo Secchi. Currently one of the coolest and reddest stars.
Orbit of Mars 297–358 Reported for reference
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 284±60[81] L/Teff The estimate ranges from 264 R to 303 R[81]
Sun's red giant phase 256[82] 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.[83][84] Reported for reference
Eta Carinae A ~240[85] 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.[86] η Car is calculated to be between 60 R and 881 R.[87]
Orbit of Earth 215 (211–219) Reported for reference
Deneb (Alpha Cygni) 203±17[88] AD Prototype Alpha Cygni variable.
Solar System Habitable Zone 200–520[89] (uncertain) Reported for reference
Orbit of Venus 154–157 Reported for reference
Epsilon Aurigae A (Almaaz) 143–358[90] AD ε Aur was incorrectly claimed in 1970 as the largest star with a size between 2,000 R and 3,000 R,[91] even though it later turned out not to be an infrared light star but rather a dusk torus surrounding the system.
S Doradus 100–380[92] AD Prototype S Doradus variable, even though P Cygni was the first discovered.
Peony Star 92[93] AD Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Rigel A (Beta Orionis A) 78.9±7.4[94] AD Other estimate ranges of 74.1+6.1
[95] to 109±12 R[96]
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 71±4[97] AD Second brightest star in the night sky.
Orbit of Mercury 66–100 Reported for reference
LBV 1806-20 46–145[98] L/Teff Formerly a candidate for the most luminous star in the Milky Way with 40 million L,[99] but the luminosity has been revised later only 2 million L.[100][101]
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.13±0.84[102] AD
Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris) 37.5[103] AD The current northern pole star.
R136a1 28.8[104]–35.4[105] AD Also on record as the most massive and luminous star known (315 M and 8.71 million L).
Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) 25.4±0.2[106] AD Brightest star in the northern hemisphere.
HDE 226868 20–22[107] The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is around 500,000 times smaller than the star.
VV Cephei B 13[108]–25[109] The B-type main sequence companion of VV Cephei A.
Sun 1 The largest object in the Solar System.
Reported for reference
  1. ^ AD: radius determined from angular diameter and distance
    L/Teff: radius calculated from bolometric luminosity and effective temperature

See also


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