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Really, Really Big Stars...

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by , 27th November 2010 at 02:07 AM (1597 Views)
So basically, I was reading that article about the woman putting a claim on the sun as her own and was pulled into wikipedia where I read up on one of my favorite stars as well as found another star which left me shaking my head in disbelief.

So here we go!

Eta Carinae
(It's that bright spot in the middle ;D)

The main (binary) star in the Homunculus Nebula which is within the even bigger Carina Nebula in the Southern Hemisphere constellation, Carina, which I can't see without flying south .

It's largest star is a Hypergiant blue star, with a mass of about 100 times that of our sun and is about 8000 light years from us.

There are a few reasons why I love this star, the main one being that it is probably the best candidate to go Super(Hyper)nova on us in our lifetimes. It could pop tonight or several thousand years from now, but my hopes is that it does explode while I'm still around to see it. The only other candidate that I know of that could possibly blow up in my lifetime is Betelgeuse, which I stare up at Orion frequently hoping to see it >_>;

Another thing about Eta Carinae that interests me is that it has already had an "almost" supernova, as it rapidly released a lot of solar material, causing it to become the second brightest star in the sky for a while back in the mid-nineteenth century.

VY Canis Majoris
(Pretty obvious which it is)

This beauty is a Hypergiant star in the Canis Majoris constellation about 4900 light years away from us. This one is unique as it is a lone star, it has no smaller companion. This one has the title as largest known star.

There were many phrases that came to mind when I first saw a size comparison between this one and our sun, but for the most part I was left speechless in awe of it. This one is the reason why I am posting this blog, to be honest.

(Pics in Spoiler)

The star is about 1800-2100 times the solar radii of our sun, and basically if dropped in our solar system would extend out to the orbit of Saturn.

Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
If the Earth were to be represented by a sphere one centimeter in diameter, the Sun would be represented as a sphere with a diameter of 109 centimeters, at a distance of 117 meters. At these scales, VY Canis Majoris would have a diameter of approximately 2.3 kilometers, assuming the upper limit estimate of its radius.


(This one is a little more difficult, but it is the brightest one in the middle of the image)

This one is a Blue Hypergiant star that is about 165,000 light years in our satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is the centerpiece of the Tarantula Nebula. This star's claim to fame is the most massive star known.

It has a mass of about 265 solar masses. It was once bigger, but it lost a few pounds and shed about 50 solar masses over the past million years. Other than being the most massive star that we know of, it is also thought that when this one reaches the end of it's life, it will go into a Hypernova, something that has the power of over 100 Supernovas.

It's still an enormous star...

Anyway, this is my first purely astronomy blog post, and hopefully I'll find some more interesting things to post about.

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