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Relative sizes of the planets in the Solar System and some of the largest stars.

Below is an ordered list of the largest stars currently known by radius expressed in units compared to the radius of the Sun (695,700 km; 432,288 mi).

The exact order of this list remains very incomplete, as there currently remains great uncertainties 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 do 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.

Several stars can have their radii 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 determining true stellar size. Only a few useful supergiant stars can experience occultations by the Moon, including Antares and Aldebaran Examples of eclipsing binaries include Epsilon Aurigae or the red-giant binary system KIC 9246715 in the constellation of Cygnus.[1]

Caveats[change | change source]

Complex issues exist around determining the radii of the largest stars. The following lists are based on various assumptions that include:

  • Distances and their errors for most of these stars remain uncertain or poorly determined.
  • Calculations of stellar radii are highly dependent on knowing the star's true luminosity, which significantly affects the resultant apparent size.
  • Many stellar size calculations are also dependent on knowing their effective temperatures. As many red giant stars have extended atmospheres, are embedded in mostly opaque dust shells or disks, or pulsate as variable stars, effective temperatures become highly uncertain and this may change significantly overtime.
  • Diameters or radii are usually approximated using Stefan–Boltzmann law knowing just the stellar luminosity and effective temperature.
  • The planetary orbits have been included in the list for comparison.
  • Based on various theoretical evolutionary models, few stars would exceed 1,500–2,000 times the Sun (roughly 3,715 K and Mbol = −9). Such limits maybe also depend on the stellar metallicity.[2]

Extragalactic large stars[change | change source]

Included within 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[change | change source]

List of the largest stars
Star name Solar radii

(Sun = 1)

UY Scuti 1,708 ± 192[5] Currently the largest star in the Milky Way and in the Universe. Margin of error in size determination: ±192 solar radii. At the smallest, it would have a size similar to VX Sagittarii (see below)
WOH G64 1,540 ± 77[6] This would be the largest star in the LMC, but is unusual in position and motion and might still be a foreground halo giant. Ohnaka (2009) calculates 1,730 R.[7] Once thought to have a radius of 2,000 R
RW Cephei 1,535 [8][9] RW Cep is variable both in brightness (by at least a factor of 3) and spectral type (observed from G8 to M), thus probably also in diameter. Because the spectral type and temperature at maximum luminosity are not known, the quoted sizes are just estimates.
Westerlund 1-26 1,530[10]


Very uncertain parameters for an unusual star with strong radio emission. The spectrum is variable but apparently the luminosity is not. The larger value first appeared in an early version of this article, although a different number was in the first created version. Both were given as a range and neither were supported by references. References were added later, but they don't support the radius values in any way. I've tried calculating out various combinations with the data that there is, but I can't get close to those numbers. Since then, they've no doubt been copied all over the web and been memorised as god-given fact. So they keep coming back. The Clark (2011) value of ~2,000 R isn't really very helpful since it is just a vague guess based on earlier assumptions about the temperature and very high luminosity.
VX Sagittarii 1,520[11] VX Sgr is a pulsating variable with a large visual range from 1,350 R to 1,940 R and varies significantly in size.[12]
KY Cygni 1,420–2,850[2] 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.
VY Canis Majoris 1,420 ± 120[13] Once thought to be a star so large that it contradicted stellar evolutionary theory with a radius of 1,800 R to 2,200 R[14], improved measurements have brought it down to size.[13][15]
AH Scorpii 1,411 ± 124[5] 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.
VV Cephei A 1,400[16] or 1,050–1,900[17] 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. Older estimates have given much larger sizes.[18]
IRC+10420 (V1302 Aquilae) 1,342[19] This star is surrounded by a reflection nebula similar to that of VY Canis Majoris.
HR 5171 A 1,315[20] or 1,490 ± 540[21] HR 5171 A is a highly distorted star in a close binary system, losing mass to the secondary. Traditionally, it is considered a particularly large yellow hypergiant, although the latest research suggests it is a red supergiant. Its size can be calculated from its angular diameter, which has been measured using the AMBER instrument and VLTI.
SMC 018136 1,310[3] This would be the largest star in the SMC.
Mu Cephei

(Herschel's "Garnet Star")

1,260[22]-1,420[2] Other recent estimates range from 650 R[23] to 830 R[19].
BI Cygni 1,240[2]
S Persei (780-) 1,230[2] In the Perseus Double Cluster. Another estimate gives a radius of 1,212 ± 124 R[24]
RAFGL 2139 1,200[25] RAFGL 2139 is a rare red supergiant companion to WR 114 that has a bow shock.
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) 887[26]–1,200[27] Ninth brightest star in the night sky. The angular diameter of Betelgeuse is only exceeded by R Doradus and the Sun.
PZ Cassiopeiae 1,190-1,940[2] or 1,260-1,340[28] The largest estimate is due to an unusual K band measurement and thought to be an artifact of a reddening correction error. The lowest 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.
NML Cygni 1,183[19]–2,770 or 1,640[29] An accurate measure of its distance and its luminosity combined with assumptions of its temperature give 1,640 R for 3,250 K or 2,770 R for 2,500 K.
EV Carinae 1,168[30]-2,880[31] EV Car is an unstable star plagued by dust extinction. The value on the left is subject to inaccuracy and thus not yet well defined.
BC Cygni 1,140[2]-1,230[22] Other recent estimates range from 856 R to 1,553 R.[32]
RT Carinae 1,090[2]
V396 Centauri 1,070[2]
HV 11423 1,060–1,220[33] 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[2]
U Lacertae 1,025[11]
KW Sagittarii 1,009[5]-1,460[2] Margin of possible error: ± 142 solar radii (Torres 2013).
NR Vulpeculae 980[2]
GCIRS 7 960±92[34]
S Cassiopeiae 930[35][36]
IX Carinae 920[2]
HV 2112 918[37] Most likely candidate for a Thorne-Zytkow Object.
NSV 25875 891[19]
Antares A (Alpha Scorpii A) (680-)[38] 883[39] 15th brightest star in the Night Sky. Other recent estimates range from 653 R[40] to 1,246 R[41]. Its size can be calculated from its angular diameter and distance.
V437 Scuti 874[19]
V602 Carinae 860[2]-1,050[42] Margin of possible error: ± 165 solar radii (Torres 2015).
V669 Cassiopeiae 859[19]
V1185 Scorpii 830[19]
LP Andromedae 815[19]
BO Carinae 790[2]
SU Persei 780[2] In the Perseus Double Cluster
RS Persei 770[43]-1,000[2] In the Perseus Double Cluster. Margin of possible error: ± 30 solar radii (Baron 2014).
AV Persei 770[2] In the Perseus Double Cluster
V355 Cepheus 300[11]-770[2]
HD 95687 760[2]
V915 Scorpii 760[44]
S Cephei 760[45]
HD 303250 750[2]
V382 Carinae 747[46] The brightest yellow hypergiant in the night sky, one of the rarest types of star. Achmad (1992) calculates 700 ± 250 R.[47]
RU Virginis 742[45]
XX Persei 710[48] In the Perseus Double Cluster
TV Geminorum 620-710[49] (–770)[2]
CW Leonis 700[50]-826[19] CW Leonis has been one of the mistaken identities as the claimed planet "Nibiru" or "Planet X", due to its brightness as it approaches 1st magnitude.
The following well-known stars are listed for the purpose of comparison.
V354 Cephei 690[11]-1,520[2]
CE Tauri ("Ruby Star")[51] 608[52] Can be occulted by the Moon, allowing accurate determination of its apparent diameter.
T Cephei 540[53]
S Orionis 530[54]
W Hydrae 520[55]
R Leporis (Hind's "Crimson Star") 500[56] One of the largest carbon stars existent in the Milky Way. Margin of possible error: ± 90 solar radii.
Rho Cassiopeiae 400-500[57] Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
Mira A (Omicron Ceti) 332–402[58] Prototype Mira variable. De beck (2005) calculates 541 R.[19]
V509 Cassiopeiae 400–900[59] Yellow hypergiant, one of the rarest types of a star.
V838 Monocerotis 380 (in 2009)[60] A short time after the outburst V838 Mon was measured at 1,570 ± 400 R.[61] However the distance to this "L supergiant", 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.
S Doradus 100-380[62] Prototype S Doradus variable
R Doradus 370[63] Star with the second largest apparent size after the Sun.
The Pistol Star 340[64] Blue hypergiant, among the most massive and luminous stars known.
La Superba (Y Canum Venaticorum) 307[19]-390[65] Currently one of the coolest and reddest stars.
Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi) 284 ± 60[66] Moravveji et al also gives a range from 264 R to 303 R. At an estimated distance of 110 parsecs from the Sun, this corresponds to a radius of 400 ± 61 R.[66]
Sun's red giant phase 256[67] or


The core hydrogen would be exhausted in 5.4 billion years. In 7.647 billion years, The Sun would reach the tip of the red-giant branch of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. (see below)

Reported for reference

Eta Carinae A (Tseen She) 250[69]-400[70] Previously thought to be the most massive single star, but in 2005 it was realized to be a binary system. Its size is poorly defined. one study calculated 60 R, but at optical depth 0.67, the size would be 800 R.[71] At the peak of the Great Eruption, it would have a size similar to VV Cephei A.[72] Other recent estimates range from 85 R to 195 R.[73]
Deneb (Alpha Cygni) 203[74]
LBV 1806-20 200[75] Formerly a candidate for the most luminous star in the Milky Way.
Zeta Aurigae


Epsilon Aurigae A (Almaaz) 143-358[76] ε Aur was incorrectly hailed as the largest star with a radius 2,000 R or 3,000 R,[77] even though it later turned out not to be an infrared light star but rather a dusk torus surrounding the system.
Peony Nebula Star 100[78] Candidate for most luminous star in the Milky Way.

(Gamma Crucis)

84[79] Closest Red Giant to the Sun.
Rigel A (Beta Orionis A) 78.9[80]
Canopus (Alpha Carinae) 71[81] Second brightest star in the night sky.
Albireo A (Beta Cygni A) 69[82] Popular example of a binary star.
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 44.2[83]
Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris) 37.5[84] The current northern pole star.
R136a1 32.1[85] Also on record as the most massive and luminous star known.
Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) 25.7[86] Brightest star in the northern hemisphere
HDE 226868 20-22[87] The supergiant companion of black hole Cygnus X-1. The black hole is 500,000 times smaller than the star.
VV Cephei B 13[18]-25[88] The B-type main sequence companion of VV Cephei A.
Alpha Aurigae A (Capella A) 11.98[89] Sixth brightest star in the night sky.
WR 104 10[90][91] WR 104 is located about 7,500 light years from Earth, the star could take away our planet in its self-destructive frenzy.
Sun 1 The largest object in the Solar System.

Reported for reference

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