A star is a sphere that is mainly composed of hydrogen and plasma, held together by gravity and is able to produce light through nuclear fusion. Stars exhibit many diverse properties, resulting from different masses, volumes, velocities, stage in stellar evolution and even proximity to earth. Some of these properties are considered extreme and sometimes disproportionate by astronomers.
Age and distance
|Nearest star||Sun||3rd century BC||1 AU||Our local star's distance was first determined in the 3rd century BC by Aristarchus of Samos||Reported for reference|
|Second-nearest star||Proxima Centauri||1915||1.30 pc||Also called Alpha Centauri C, it is the outlying star in a trinary star system. This is currently the nearest known neighbouring star to our own Sun. This star was discovered in 1915, and its parallax was determined at the time, when enough observations were established.||[NB 1]||||List of nearest stars|
|Most distant individually seen star||MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1 (or Icarus (star))||2018||z=1.49 |
|||List of the most distant astronomical objects|
|Most distant star||Stars in GN-z11||2016||z=11.09||||List of the most distant astronomical objects|
|Oldest star||HD 140283||14.5±0.8 billion years||the "Methuselah star"||||List of oldest stars|
|Youngest||Stars are being formed constantly in the universe so it is impossible to tell which star is the youngest. For information on the properties of newly formed stars, See Protostar, Young Stellar Object and Star Formation.|
|Nearest "average" star||Alpha Centauri |
A & B
|1839||1.34 parsecs (4.4 ly)||This was the third star whose parallax was determined. Before Alpha Cen, the record was held by 61 Cygni, the first star whose parallax was determined.||[NB 1][NB 2][NB 3]|
|Nearest normal star||Alpha Centauri C |
|1915||1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)||Before Proxima, the title had been held by Alpha Centauri A&B.||[NB 1][NB 3]|||
|Nearest red dwarf||Before Proxima, the title had been held by Barnard's Star|
|Nearest degenerate star||Sirius B||1852||8.6 light-years (2.6 pc)||This is also the nearest white dwarf||[NB 4]|
|Nearest borderline subgiant||Procyon||11.5 light-years (3.5 pc)||All stars closer to the Sun are either main sequence or dwarf stars.|
|Nearest undisputed subgiant||Delta Pavonis||19.9 light-years (6.1 pc)||A subgiant, but only slightly brighter than the Sun.|
|Nearest "true" giant star||Pollux||33.8 light-years (10.4 pc)|
|Nearest red giant||Arcturus||36.7 light-years (11.3 pc)|
|Nearest spectral type A or hotter||Sirius||8.6 light-years (2.6 pc)|
|Nearest neutron star||RX J185635-3754||2000||400 light-years (120 pc)|||
|Nearest white dwarf||Sirius B||1852||8.6 light-years (2.6 pc)||Sirius B is also the second white dwarf discovered, after 40 Eridani B.|||
|Nearest flare star||Proxima Centauri |
(Alpha Centauri C)
|1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)||α Cen C is also the nearest neighbouring star.|||
|Nearest brown dwarf||Luhman 16||2013||6.5 light-years (2.0 pc)||This is a pair of brown dwarfs in a binary system, with no other stars.|||
Brightness and power
|Brightest star from the Earth: Apparent magnitude||Sun||prehistoric||m=−26.74|| Reported for reference |
[NB 5][NB 6]
|Brightest star other than the Sun||Sirius |
(Alpha Canis Majoris)
|prehistoric||m=−1.46||[NB 5][NB 6][NB 7][NB 1]||List of brightest stars|
|Brightest star in a transient event||Progenitor of SN 1006||1006||m=−7.5||This was a supernova, and its remnant (SNR) is catalogued as PKS 1459-41||[NB 5][NB 6][NB 1]|||
|Dimmest star from the Earth||UDF 2457||[NB 5][NB 6]|
|Most luminous star||R136a1||2010||V=−8.09||[NB 8]||||List of most luminous stars|
|Most luminous star in a transient event||Progenitor of GRB 080916C||2008||V=−40||The star exploded in a gamma-ray burst with the total energy equal to 9,000 supernovae||[NB 8]||List of gamma-ray bursts|
|Least luminous normal star||2MASS J0523-1403||2013||V=20.6||[NB 3][NB 8]|||
|Most energetic star||R136a1||2010||B=-12.5||[NB 9]||||List of most luminous stars|
|Most energetic star in a transient event||Progenitor of GRB 080916C||2008||[NB 9]|
|Least energetic normal star||2MASS J0523-1403||2013||L=0.000126LSun||[NB 3][NB 9]|||
|Hottest normal star||WR 102||T=210000 K||||List of hottest stars|
|Coolest normal star||S Cassiopeiae||T=1800 K||||List of coolest stars|
|Hottest degenerate star||KPD 0005+5106 |
|2008 ||200,000 K |
|Hottest neutron star||At least 100,000K|
|Hottest white dwarf||KPD 0005+5106||2008||200,000 K|||
|Hottest PG 1159 star/GW Vir star||RX J2117+3412||1999||170,000 K|||
|Coolest brown dwarf||WISE 1828+2650||250–400 K||WISE 0855-0714 may be cooler at 225–260 K, but its status as a rogue planet or sub-brown dwarf is not well known as its mass is between 3 and 10 MJ.|
Size and mass
|Largest apparent size star||Sun||prehistoric |
(3rd century BCE)
|31.6′ – 32.7′||The apparent size of the Sun was first measured by Eratosthenes in the 3rd Century BCE, who was the second person to measure the distance to the Sun. However, Thales of Miletus provided a measurement for the real size of the Sun in the 6th century BCE, as 1⁄720 the great circle of the Sun (the orbit of the Earth)|| Reported for reference |
|Largest apparent size star other than the Sun||R Doradus||1997||0.057"||This replaced Betelgeuse as the largest, Betelgeuse having been the first star other than the Sun to have its apparent size measured.||[NB 6][NB 1]|||
|Smallest apparent size star||[NB 6]|
|Largest star |
|UY Scuti||2012||r=1,708 ± 192 R☉||The quoted size was based on an angular diameter and distance of 2.9 kpc. Gaia Data Release 2 suggests a much closer distance and consequently smaller radius.||||List of largest stars|
|Smallest star||EBLM J0555-57Ab||2017||r=0.084 RSun||[NB 3]||||List of least voluminous stars|
|Most massive star||R136a1||2010||315 MSun||This exceeds the predicted limit of 150 solar masses, previously believed to be the limit of stellar mass, according to the leading star formation theories.||[NB 10]||||List of most massive stars|
|Least massive normal star||SCR 1845–6357 A||0.07 MSun||[NB 3]||||List of least massive stars|
|Most massive brown dwarf||SDSS J010448.46+153501.8||2017||90 MJupiter||This is at the limit between brown dwarfs and red dwarfs.|||
|Most massive degenerate star||The most massive type of degenerate star is the neutron star. See Most massive neutron star for this recordholder. [NB 4]|
|Most massive neutron star||PSR J0740+6620||2019||2.14 MSun||Several candidates exist which have a higher mass, however their mass has been measured by less precise methods and as such their mass value is regarded as less certain.||||List of most massive neutron stars|
|Most massive white dwarf||RE J0317-853||1998||1.35 MSun|||
|Least massive degenerate star||The least massive type of degenerate star is the white dwarf. See Least massive white dwarf for this recordholder. [NB 4]|
|Least massive neutron star||PSR J0737-3039B||2004||1.249 MSun|||
|Least massive white dwarf||SDSS J091709.55+463821.8 |
|Least massive brown dwarf||Jupiter(disputed)||Antiquity||1 MJupiter||Largest possible degenerate object by diameter. Would qualify as a sub brown dwarf, based on mass.|
|Highest proper motion||Barnard's Star||10.3 "/yr||This is also the fourth closest star to the Solar System.|||
|Lowest proper motion|
|Highest radial velocity|
|Lowest radial velocity|
|Highest peculiar motion|
|Lowest peculiar motion|
|Highest rotational speed of a normal star||VFTS 102||2013||600 km/s||[NB 3]|||
|Lowest rotational speed|
|Fastest velocity of a star||S5-HVS1||2019||1,755 km/s|||
|Least stars in a star system||There are many single star systems.|
|Most stars in a star system||Septuple star system||Both are called 7-star systems in the 1997 MSC, and appear in the 2008 MSC.||[NB 11]|||
|Stars in the closest orbit around one another||There are many stars that are in contact binary systems (where two or more stars are in physical contact with each other).|
|Stars in the most distant orbit around one another||HD 134439/HD 134440||0.56±0.25 light-years||Orbit is most likely unstable long-term||[NB 11]|
|Nearest multiple star system||Alpha Centauri||1839||1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)||This was one of the first three stars to have its distance measured.|||
|Nearest binary star system||Luhman 16||2013||1.998 parsecs (6.52 ly)||Brown dwarf binary system. The nearest non-brown dwarf binary is Sirius, and the nearest composed entirely of main-sequence stars is Luyten 726-8.|
|Nearest trinary star system||Alpha Centauri||1839||1.38 parsecs (4.5 ly)||Also nearest multiple star system, and nearest star system of any type|
|Nearest quaternary star system||Gliese 570||5.88 parsecs (19.2 ly)||K4 star orbited by a pair of M stars, all orbited by a T7 brown dwarf.|
|Nearest quintenary star system||V1054 Ophiuchi||6.46 parsecs (21.1 ly)||M3 star orbited by a pair of pair of M4 stars, together orbited by an M3.5 star, all orbited by an M7 star.|
|Nearest sextenary star system||Castor||1718||15.6 parsecs (51 ly)||A1 star orbited by a red dwarf, both orbited by another A star orbited by a red dwarf, all orbited by two red dwarfs orbiting each other.|
|Nearest septenary star system||Nu Scorpii||150 parsecs (490 ly)||A B3V star orbited by an unknown star, both orbited by another unknown star, together orbited by another unknown star, all orbited by a B9III star orbiting a pair of stars which are a B9III and unknown star.|
|Shortest period black hole binary system||MAXI J1659-152||2013||2.4 hours||This exceeds the preceding recordholder by about one hour (Swift J1753.5-0127 with a 3.2 hour period)|||
- Angular diameter
- Compact star
- List of exoplanet extremes
- List of extremes in the sky
- Peculiar velocity
- Proper motion
- Radial velocity
- Rotational speed
- Star system
- Other than the Sun
- An "average" star is a normal star which is larger than a red dwarf, but smaller than a giant star. Depending on the definition, this can also be called "Sun-like star".
- A normal star is a star that is past its protostar period, in its main fusion period, before becoming a degenerate star, black hole, or post-stellar nebula, and is not a failed star (brown dwarf).
- Not including stellar-mass black holes, or exotic stars
- By visual magnitude (m)
- This is the appearance in the sky from Earth.
- This does not include brightest stars due to outbursts
- Luminosity here represents how bright a star is if all stars were equally far away, in visible light.
- Energetic here is the total electromagnetic energy emitted by a star in all wavelengths.
- Not including stellar black holes
- The allowable distance between components of a star system is debated.
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