8 Biggest  Stars in the  Milky Way Galaxy

June 08, 2023

By Aswirbaad Das

They are big, they are bright and they are tremendous sources of energy and mystery! Let’s have a look at 8 of the biggest stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The heart of the Scorpius constellation, this red supergiant is 550 light years away. Antares, or Alpha Scorpii, is 700 times bigger and 10,000 times brighter and pumps 75,900 times more energy than the sun! Its name is thought to come from an Ancient Greek phrase meaning ‘rival of Mars’, due to its Mars-like appearance in both colour and brightness.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A red supergiant that might not make this list in the next 10,000–100,000 years when it goes supernova! The popular Betelgeuse, located about 640 light years away in the constellation Orion, with a diameter 887 times larger than the sun’s, is nearing its end. Scientists believe that the phenomenon would be so bright that it could even be visible in daylight.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This red supergiant is the primary star of the fascinating VV Cephei binary star system, located 5,000 light years away. Its smaller blue-white companion star is 15–20 times the diameter of our sun, while the VV Cephei A itself is more than 1000 times bigger! They, however, orbit each other in tandem for a period of 20.35 years.

VV Cephia A

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Herschel’s Garnet Star and notable for its striking red colour, this behemoth is also located in the Cepheus constellation. Also, 1200 times bigger than our sun and 2,840 light years away from the Earth, this red supergiant is one of the most distant stars visible without telescopes.

Mu Cephei

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Located in the Cygnus constellation, some 5,000 light years away, the KY Cygni is 1,430 times bigger and 273,000 times brighter than our sun! But despite its brightness, this red supergiant star is not visible to the naked eye because a dense cloud of hydrogen blocks most of the light it emits.

KY Cygni

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This hypergiant variable star is located in the constellation Cepheus, 3500 light years away from the solar system. It is almost 1,530 times bigger than our sun, yet its surface temperature of 3,588 Kelvin is lesser than our sun’s, which is 5,777 Kelvin. This is due to its variable nature, meaning its size and brightness change over time.

RW Cephei

Image source: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

The crown jewel of the Canis Major constellation, this oxygen-rich red hypergiant is 270,000 times brighter than our sun! It is located nearly 3,900 light years away and was first catalogued by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1801. Its diameter of 1.97 billion kilometres extends well beyond the orbit of Jupiter!

Canis Majoris

Image source: NASA

The big daddy of all stars, the UY Scuti is considered the biggest star ever discovered. It has a volume that can fit over 5 billion suns! But remarkably, it is only 10 times the mass of the sun and 100,000 times as bright, due to fast-moving stellar winds. This hypergiant star, located near the centre of our galaxy, is roughly 9,500 light years away.

UY Scuti

Image source: NASA