How Big Is Big?

This past months supernovae event in M81 (my unprocessed image below) got me thinking of how big a star this had to be to dwarf most of a galaxy.

If you haven’t checked out the star size videos over on Youtube®, they are amazing.  I highly recommend that you view them while not wearing 3d glasses, you might get vertigo.

File:UY Scuti size comparison to the sun.png

And as our observations of the universe get better and better, the size of some stars is getting staggeringly large.  The current size (not mass) champ is UY Scuti.  At about 5 billion times the volume of the Sun, light would  take almost 10 hours to go across the surface.  In comparison, it takes about 8 minutes for the light from our Sun to reach Earth.  We be tiny!

The classification of the monsters if very interesting as well.  You have blue hypergiants, yellow hypergiants, red supergiants, and red hypergiants.  The blue line is the orbit of Neptune and the red circle is our orbit.

Thankfully, our small, dim little sun is sufficient for our needs.  I mean really, a red hypergiant!  What could live around that.  Any habitable planet would take hundreds of years to orbit.  That would mean I would about 2 months old.  So there might be an upside after all.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +