VY Canis Majoris
VY Canis Majoris
VY Canis Majoris is surrounded by a gaseous envelope as it has begun to shed its mass.
VY Canis Majoris Facts
  • VY Canis Majoris is around 4,000 light years from Earth in the constellation of Canis Major.
  • It is one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
  • VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant with a radius of around 1,500 times larger than the sun.
  • Hypergiant stars such as VY Canis Majoris are extremely rare in our galaxy, in fact most stars in the Milky Way are smaller than the sun.
  • Large stars burn their fuel extremely quickly, as a result they only exist for a few million years, smaller stars like our sun exist for billions of years.
  • It is estimated that VY Canis Majoris has already ejected around half of its mass, which has surrounded the star in a nebula cloud.
  • VY Canis Majoris is near the end of its lifespan and is expected to explode as a supernova in the next 100,000 years.
  • After the star explodes the collapse of its remaining core could be massive enough to create a black hole.
  • The French astronomer Jerome Laland was the first to record and catalogue the star in 1801.

Vy Canis Majoris compared to the sun
The sun is shown as a single pixel in this image when compared to VY Canis Majoris.
VY Canis Majoris Radius
Estimates of the star's radius have previously ranged up to 2,000 times larger than the sun, but it is now thought its radius is around 1,500 times that of the sun. If VY Canis Majoris was placed in the center of our solar system it would almost reach the orbit of Saturn!
VY Canis Majoris Mass
VY Canis Majoris is estimated to have a mass of around 10 to 25 times that of the sun.
VY Canis Majoris Temperature
VY Canis Majoris is estimated to have surface temperatures of around 3,200C (5,800F).
VY Canis Majoris Luminosity (energy emitted)
Measurements of the star's luminosity vary quite dramatically, from around 250,000 to 500,000 times as luminous as the sun.

VY Canis Majoris Statistics

Also Known As: VY CMa

Distance From Earth: 4,000 to 5,000 light years

Constellation: Canis Major

Star Type: Red Hypergiant - M Class

Mass: 20 to 40 x Sun

Luminosity: 250,000 to 500,000 x Sun

Diameter: Approx 1.5 billion miles (2.4 billion km) - 1,750 x Sun

Temperature: Approx 3,200C (5,800F)

Age: Approx 10 million years old

Rotation Period: Unknown

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