Relative star sizes

Relative star sizes

There seems to be an endless supply of beautiful, twinkling stars to see when you look up at the sky at night. Some are definitely larger than others, while others seem so petite that you can only see them when you squint. Have you ever been curious to find out what the largest known star in the universe is? Well, the answer to the question depends on a couple of factors.

Right now, there are only two real hyper stars known in the universe. The most massive star in the known universe is a title that is given to R136a1. R136a1 is a start that is 265 more massive than our own Sun, and is capable of giving off more heat and energy than all the stars in the Orion Nebula combined. How bright is that, you ask? Well, it’s about 10 million times as bright as the sun that our Earth orbits.

The other hypergiant star in the universe that can vie for the title of largest star is VY Canis Majoris. This giant star is over 2,000 times the size of our sun. It is also approximately 35 times heavier than our sun.  According to scientists, if our sun was replaced with VY Canis Majoris, the sun would be so large that it would stick out of Saturn’s orbit at points. Thank goodness it’s 5,000 light years away!

As massive as these unique stars happen to be, there’s always a possibility that there could be a star even larger out there. It could be that R136a1 and VY both have a star that makes them seem as small as our sun. All we have to do in order to find it is to keep searching the skies, and keep exploring space.