3 Largest Stars in the Known Universe (+Video)

By Ian Ritz
Ian Ritz
Ian Ritz
August 21, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013

It’s hard not to marvel at the colossal size of stars. The sun is the closest star to Earth, but it’s a tiny one compared to others. The largest star in the known universe is 165,000 times larger than the sun, and our sun is large enough to contain 1 million planets the size of Earth. Astronomers use the volume of the sun to measure the size of other stars. Here are the three biggest stars known to humans by volume.

1. NML Cygni

The largest star documented to date, named NML Cygni, is 165,000 times larger than the sun, making it large enough to contain within it 165 billion planet Earths. Not only is the star massive enough to reach from Earth to Jupiter’s orbital track in our solar system, it is estimated to be 5,300 light years away from where we are. Humanity can only wonder what exists even farther out in the universe at this time.

2. WOH G64

The second largest star known to man, known as WOH G64, is located over 160,000 light years away from earth making it understandable that scientists are struggling to measure its exact size. This star is not located in our Milky Way. It resides in a neighboring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is estimated to be 1,540 times larger than the sun. There is a field of dust around the star adding to the difficulty scientists have in measuring its exact perimeter.

3. VX Sagittarii

The third largest star discovered thus far is known as VX Sagittarii. This star is a hypergiant pulsating variable star. This star actually changes in volume and temperature as it pulsates or expands and contracts throughout the years. This star has been measured to be 1,520 times larger than the sun. VX Sagittarii gets its name from its location in the Sagittarius constellation in our own Milky Way. In some ways this star could almost be similar to a human heart pumping the way it consistently pulsates.

As science progresses, computer technology becomes more advanced. Likewise, telescopes are becoming increasingly more powerful. No one knows what exists in the billions of galaxies in deep space, but humanity may learn more about it in the not too distant future.

To get just a taste of the colossal scale of the universe, watch this video.

Ian Ritz
Ian Ritz