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The largest star in our galaxy ?

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  • The largest star in our galaxy ?

    Want to feel really small? Meet UY Scuti, the largest star in the universe

    Brendan Hesse
    Digital TrendsApril 4, 2017 uy scuti everything to know about biggest star in the universe milky way
    uy scuti everything to know about biggest star in the universe milky wayMore
    Yuriy Mazur/123RF

    Looking up at the sky inspires deep moments of introspection and curiosity. Itís easy to feel small under a starry night sky, but in order to begin to grasp just how small we truly are, we must know what our relative size is compared to the larger celestial bodies of the Galaxy ó and what makes a better point of comparison than a star? Enter UY Scuti, a bright red supergiant variable star that resides within the Scutum constellation and is currently believed to be the largest star in the Milky Way galaxy.
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    Related: Astronomers think this star could be surrounded by alien megastructures

    German astronomers originally discovered UY Scuti at the Bonn Observatory in 1860, but it wasnít until astronomers observed UY Scuti through the Very Large Telescope in Chileís Atacama Desert in 2012 that the starís true size became well documented. Following this discovery, UY Scuti was officially named the largest known star in the galaxy, surpassing previous record holders such as Betelgeuse, VY Canis Majoris, and NML Cygni.

    While there are stars that are brighter and denser than UY Scuti, it has the largest overall size of any star currently known, with a radius of 1,708 Ī 192 R☉. That figure amounts to somewhere between 1,054,378,000 and 1,321,450,000 miles in size, which is about 1,700 times larger than our Sunís radius and 21 billion times the volume. Wrapping oneís head around such number can be difficult, so letís break this down a bit. UY_Scuti_zoomed_in,_Rutherford_Observatory,_07_September_2014
    UY_Scuti_zoomed_in,_Rutherford_Observatory,_07_Sep tember_2014More
    Wikimedia Commons

    Consider the Following.

    From our point of view, Earth is pretty big compared to the size of a single human. But compared to even some of our close neighbors, our home is incredibly tiny. Letís imagine for a moment that the Earth were an 8-inch diameter ball. At that scale, the Sun would be about 73 feet in diameter, which is a few feet more than the height of the White House. Our enormous, distant friend, UY Scuti, would be 125,000 feet in diameter, which is just a smidge under 24 miles. Remember that crazy Redbull-sponsored stunt a few years ago performed by Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from the outermost limit of Earthís atmosphere back to the surface? That was 24 miles in the air. Now imagine a sphere that large. Thatís how big UY Scuti is.

    So, what would happen if UY Scuti were to swap positions with our Sun? The Star would engulf the the entirety of Jupiterís orbit, swallowing the Sun, the first five planets of our solar system, and the asteroid belt without so much as a belch. Some speculate the star may be even larger, enough to extend beyond the orbit of Saturn. Not only that, but the UY Scutiís gravity would gobble up the larger planet and distant planetoids of our solar system like a interstellar Pac-Man, and whatever remained unconsumed would take thousands of years to complete a single orbital rotation around the luminescent giant.

    This video from Youtuber J Dude simulates what such an event would look like:

    Hopefully, itís beginning to sink in just how enormous UY Scuti is. We havenít even touched the distance between us and the supermassive star ó approximately 2.9 kiloparsecs, or 9,500 light years ó but thatís a topic for another day.

    It must be stressed that weíre constantly exploring, observing, and discovering new things about our galaxy and the trillions of celestial bodies that populate it. It stands to reason that we could uncover yet another, even larger star in the future. Our perspective, on a universal scale, is infinitesimally small. Even if UY Scuti is the largest star in the Milky Way, there could be enormous other stars in far away galaxies that dwarf those of our own, somewhere within this indescribably vast universe. Alas, we will may never know.

  • #2
    Why do I find the study of the creation interesting ?

    Because His creation declares His Glory and His Glory is His Truth. We learn truth when we study His creation.

    The creation is not the creation of mere men of science. They can not create a star.

    The creation is the creation of The Lord Jesus. We learn about Him when we study His creation.

    What can we learn from this article ? We can see that The Lord created stars that are far different from one another for one thing.

    What did you learn from this article ?