World Records: Space and Astronomy II

When you look into the sky at night, it’s probably filled with thousands of stars. Some are largest than others, while others are more memorable. In this article, you will learn about record-breaking stars, as well as other records associated with astronomy.

Largest Star

It’s nearly impossible to physically measure the size of a distant star, which is why there are many debates as to what star holds the record for being the largest. However, one of the stars that is at the top of the list of many astronomers is VY Canis Majoris, which is a red supergiant located about 5,000 light years away. The star is estimated to possess a diameter of between 1.55 and 1.86 billion miles. If the star were situated in them idle of the Solar System, its outer surface would reach a distance that goes beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

Largest Star with a Planet

Astronomers announced in January 2003 that they had discovered a planet that was orbiting the orange giant star named HD 47536. This particular star is expanding at the end of its life and is currently measured at about 20.5 million miles across , is actually 23 times the size of the Sun. The planet is about 186 million miles from the star but will eventually be consumed in a few tens of millions of years as the star continues to grow larger to reach the status of a red giant.

Largest Globular Cluster

Located in the southern constellation of Centaurus, you will find Omega Centauri, which is known as the most massive of the 140 globular clusters that reside around the Milky Way. The cluster is comprised of several million stars that have a combined mass equivalent to 5 million Suns. If you look in the sky, you can actually see it without a telescope , it appears as a hazy star. Despite these measurements, it would take about 1,000 Omega Centauris to compare to the size of the galaxy that we live in , the Milky Way.

Largest Nebula Visible to the Naked Eye

A nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in space. In some cases, a nebula is the region where new stars are born. Found in the southern sky, the largest nebula visible without the help of a telescope is the Tarantual Nebula in the constellation of Doradus. The nebula is large and bright enough for the naked eye to detect 0 even though it is 170,000 light years away. Its visibility is due to the large cloud of glowing gas with a diameter of about 1,000 light years. The nebula is the only one of its kind outside of the galaxy that can be seen without a telescope or other device.

Source: Guinness World Records 2010