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What classification is given to the largest stars in the universe?



  Artwork that compares the size of the sun to an oversized star.
Philip Park / Wikimedia

Answer: Supergiant

stars are big, no doubt. But even under the stars there are stars that are so big that their size contradicts the imagination (and broadens our understanding of astrophysics). To see how big the biggest stars are, let's talk about our own humble sun.

The sun is formally a main series star of type G and informally a yellow dwarf. It's not particularly big by cosmic standards, but even then it's huge compared to Earth. You could put 1

.3 million earths in the space of our humble sun.

The largest stars in the universe are known as "supergiants," and the largest of these known stars is a red supergiant named UY Scuti. Further observations and calculations, which were first observed in 1860, have shown that UY Scuti has an astonishingly large volume and is currently the leading candidate for the largest observed star (and one of the brightest red supergiants).

How big is UY? Scuti? Its estimated volume is five billion times that of the Sun, and if we repeated the experiment inside the box with UY Scuti, it would contain approximately 6.6 billion soils. It is such a big star that if you dropped it in the same place as our sun, its photosphere would extend just beyond Jupiter's orbit.


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