Earth and Space

The big dog

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

One of the largest known giant stars, VY Canis Majoris, is 30-40 times more massive than the Sun and 500,000 times more luminous. If it were placed in the solar system in the position of the Sun, its surface would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter. The star is in the process of shedding mass prior to exploding in a supernova. VY Canis Majoris is so large it would take light 8.5 hours to travel round its circumference (by comparison with the 14.5 seconds it would take light to circumnavigate the Sun’s equator).

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