List of star extremes

A star is a massive luminous spheroid astronomical object made of plasma that is held together by its own gravity. Stars exhibit great diversity in their properties (such as such as mass, volume, velocity, stage in stellar evolution, and distance from Earth) and some of the outliers are so disproportionate in comparison with the general population that they are considered extreme. This is a list of such stars.

Records that are regarded as authoritative and unlikely to change at any given point are recorded on a white background, while those that could change with new information and/or discoveries are recorded on a grey background.

Age and distance

TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Nearest starSun3rd century BC1 AUOur local star's distance was first determined in the 3rd century BC by Aristarchus of Samos Reported for reference
Second-nearest starProxima Centauri19151.30 pcAlso called Alpha Centauri C, it is the outlying star in a trinary star system. This is currently the nearest known neighbouring star to our own Sun. This star was discovered in 1915, and its parallax was determined at the time, when enough observations were established.[NB 1][1][2]List of nearest stars
Most distant individually seen starMACS J1149 Lensed Star 1 (or Icarus (star))2018z=1.49
9.0 Gly
[3][4][5][6]List of the most distant astronomical objects
Most distant starStars in GN-z112016z=11.09

13.39 Gly

[7]List of the most distant astronomical objects
Most distant star gravitationally bound to Milky Way galaxyULAS J0015+012014900,000 light-yearsLocated in the Milky Way's extreme outer halo, far beyond the galactic disc.[8]
Oldest starHD 14028314.5±0.8 billion yearsthe "Methuselah star"[9]List of oldest stars
YoungestStars are being formed constantly in the universe so it is impossible to tell which star is the youngest. For information on the properties of newly formed stars, See Protostar, Young stellar object and Star formation.
Nearest stars by type
TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Nearest sun-like starAlpha Centauri
A & B
18391.34 parsecs (4.4 ly)This was the third star whose parallax was determined. Before Alpha Centauri, the record was held by 61 Cygni, the first star whose parallax was determined.[NB 1][NB 2][NB 3]
Nearest normal starAlpha Centauri C
(Proxima Centauri)
19151.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)Before Proxima, the title had been held by Alpha Centauri A & B.[NB 1][NB 3][10][11]
Nearest red dwarfBefore Proxima, the title had been held by Barnard's Star
Nearest degenerate starSirius B18528.6 light-years (2.6 pc)This is also the nearest white dwarf.[NB 4]
Nearest borderline subgiantProcyon11.5 light-years (3.5 pc)All stars closer to the Sun are either main sequence or dwarf stars.
Nearest undisputed subgiantDelta Pavonis19.9 light-years (6.1 pc)A subgiant, but only slightly brighter than the Sun.
Nearest "true" giant starPollux33.8 light-years (10.4 pc)
Nearest red giantArcturus36.7 light-years (11.3 pc)
Nearest spectral type A or hotterSirius8.6 light-years (2.6 pc)
Nearest neutron starRX J1856.35-37542000400 light-years (120 pc)[12][13][14]
Nearest white dwarfSirius B18528.6 light-years (2.6 pc)Sirius B is also the second white dwarf discovered, after 40 Eridani B.[10][15][16]
Nearest flare starProxima Centauri
(Alpha Centauri C)
1.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)α Cen C is also the nearest neighbouring star.[17]
Nearest brown dwarfLuhman 1620136.5 light-years (2.0 pc)This is a pair of brown dwarfs in a binary system, with no other stars.[18]

Brightness and power

TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Brightest star from the Earth: Apparent magnitudeSunprehistoricm=−26.74 Reported for reference
[NB 5][NB 6]
Brightest star other than the SunSirius
(Alpha Canis Majoris)
prehistoricm=−1.46[NB 5][NB 6][NB 7][NB 1]List of brightest stars
Brightest star in a transient eventProgenitor of SN 10061006m=−7.5This was a supernova, and its remnant (SNR) is catalogued as PKS 1459-41[NB 5][NB 6][NB 1][19]
Dimmest star from the EarthUDF 2457[NB 5][NB 6]
Most luminous starR136a12010V=−8.09[NB 8][20]List of most luminous stars
Most luminous star in a transient eventProgenitor of GRB 080916C2008V=−40The star exploded in a gamma-ray burst with the total energy equal to 9,000 supernovae[NB 8]List of gamma-ray bursts
Least luminous normal star2MASS J0523−14032013V=20.6[NB 3][NB 8][21]
Most energetic starR136a12010B=-12.5[NB 9][20]List of most luminous stars
Most energetic star in a transient eventProgenitor of GRB 080916C2008[NB 9]
Least energetic normal star2MASS J0523−14032013L=0.000126LSun[NB 3][NB 9][21]
Hottest normal starWR 102T=210000 K[22]List of hottest stars
Coolest normal starS CassiopeiaeT=1800 K[23]List of coolest stars
TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Hottest degenerate starCSPN of NGC 43612019270,000 K[24]
Hottest neutron starPSR B0943+103,100,000K[25]
Coolest neutron starPSR B1257+1228,856 K
Hottest white dwarfKPD 0005+51062008200,000 K[26]
Hottest PG 1159 star/GW Vir starRX J2117+34121999170,000 K[27]
Coolest brown dwarfWISE 1828+2650250–400 KWISE 0855-0714 may be cooler at 225–260 K, but its status as a rogue planet or sub-brown dwarf is not well known as its mass is between 3 and 10 MJ.

Size and mass

TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Largest apparent size starSunprehistoric
(3rd century BCE)
31.6 – 32.7′The apparent size of the Sun was first measured by Eratosthenes in the 3rd Century BCE,[28] who was the second person to measure the distance to the Sun. However, Thales of Miletus provided a measurement for the real size of the Sun in the 6th century BCE, as1720 the great circle of the Sun (the orbit of the Earth)[29] Reported for reference
[NB 6]
Largest extrasolar apparent size starR Doradus19970.057"This replaced Betelgeuse as the largest, Betelgeuse having been the first star other than the Sun to have its apparent size measured.[NB 6][NB 1][30]
Smallest apparent size star[NB 6]
Possible largest known starUY Scuti20131,708 ± 192 RIt is unknown how stars can become this large since the theoretical limit is only 1,500 R in the milky way, although one paper mentions the extremity.[31][32]List of largest known stars
Smallest starEBLM J0555-57Ab20170.084 R[NB 3][33][34][35]List of smallest stars
Most massive starBAT99-982014226 MThis exceeds the predicted limit of 150 solar masses, previously believed to be the limit of stellar mass, according to the leading star formation theories.[NB 10][36]List of most massive stars
Least massive normal starSCR 1845–6357 A0.07 M[NB 3][37]List of least massive stars
Most massive stars by type
TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Most massive brown dwarfSDSS J010448.46+153501.8201790 MJupiterThis is at the limit between brown dwarfs and red dwarfs.[38][39][40]
Most massive degenerate starThe most massive type of degenerate star is the neutron star. See Most massive neutron star for this recordholder. [NB 4]
Most massive neutron starPSR J0740+662020192.14 MSunSeveral candidates exist which have a higher mass, however their mass has been measured by less precise methods and as such their mass value is regarded as less certain.[41]List of most massive neutron stars
Most massive neutron star (disputed)PSR J1748-2021B20152.548 MSun[42]
Most massive white dwarfRE J0317-853/ZTF J1901+14581998/20201.35 MSun[43][44]
Least massive stars by type
TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Least massive degenerate starPSR B0943+1020060.02 MSun[25]
Least massive neutron star
Least massive white dwarfSDSS J091709.55+463821.8
(WD J0917+4638)
20070.17 MSun[45][46][47][48]
Least massive brown dwarfSub-brown dwarf


TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Highest proper motionBarnard's Star10.3 "/yrThis is also the fourth closest star to the Solar System.[49][50]
Lowest proper motionN/AN/A~0 "/yrBillions of stars on the other end of the galaxy
Highest radial velocity
Lowest radial velocityEY Aquarii2013-870 km/sMira variable[NB 11]
Highest peculiar motion
Lowest peculiar motion
Highest rotational speed of a normal starVFTS 1022013600 km/s[NB 3][51]
Lowest rotational speed
Fastest velocity of a starS5-HVS120191,755 km/s[52][53][54][55]

Star systems

TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Least stars in a star systemThere are many single star systems.
Most stars in a star system
  • Nu Scorpii
  • AR Cassiopeiae
Septuple star systemBoth are called 7-star systems in the 1997 MSC,[56] and appear in the 2008 MSC.[57][NB 12][56][57]
Stars in the closest orbit around one anotherThere are many stars that are in contact binary systems (where two or more stars are in physical contact with each other).
Stars in the most distant orbit around one anotherFomalhaut A/B/C~0.77 parsecs

(2.5 ly)

Nearest multiple star systemAlpha Centauri18391.30 parsecs (4.2 ly)This was one of the first three stars to have its distance measured.[58][59][10][60]
Nearest binary star systemLuhman 1620131.998 parsecs (6.52 ly)Brown dwarf binary system. The nearest non-brown dwarf binary is Sirius, and the nearest composed entirely of main-sequence stars is Luyten 726-8.
Nearest trinary star systemAlpha Centauri18391.38 parsecs (4.5 ly)Also nearest multiple star system, and nearest star system of any type
Nearest quaternary star systemGliese 5705.88 parsecs (19.2 ly)K4 star orbited by a pair of M stars, all orbited by a T7 brown dwarf.
Nearest quintenary star systemV1054 Ophiuchi6.46 parsecs (21.1 ly)M3 star orbited by a pair of pair of M4 stars, together orbited by an M3.5 star, all orbited by an M7 star.
Nearest sextenary star systemCastor171815.6 parsecs (51 ly)A1 star orbited by a red dwarf, both orbited by another A star orbited by a red dwarf, all orbited by two red dwarfs orbiting each other.
Nearest septenary star systemNu Scorpii150 parsecs (490 ly)A B3V star orbited by an unknown-type star, both orbited by another unknown star, together orbited by another unknown star, all orbited by a B9III star orbiting a pair of stars which are a B9III and unknown star.
Star systems by type
TitleObjectDateDataCommentsNotesRefsSee more
Shortest period black hole binary systemMAXI J1659-15220132.4 hoursThis exceeds the preceding recordholder by about one hour (Swift J1753.5-0127 with a 3.2 hour period)[61]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Other than the Sun
  2. ^ An "average" star is a normal star which is larger than a red dwarf, but smaller than a giant star. Depending on the definition, this can also be called "Sun-like star".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g A normal star is a star that is past its protostar period, in its main fusion period, before becoming a degenerate star, black hole, or post-stellar nebula, and is not a failed star (brown dwarf).
  4. ^ a b Not including stellar-mass black holes or exotic stars
  5. ^ a b c d By visual magnitude (m)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g This is the appearance in the sky from Earth.
  7. ^ This does not include brightest stars due to outbursts
  8. ^ a b c Luminosity here represents how bright a star is if all stars were equally far away, in visible light.
  9. ^ a b c Energetic here is the total electromagnetic energy emitted by a star in all wavelengths.
  10. ^ Not including stellar black holes
  11. ^ Stars with particularly high radial velocities are usually erroneously recorded, so all large values should be taken with a grain of salt.
  12. ^ The allowable distance between components of a star system is debated.


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External links

Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: ESO, European Southern Observatory, Licence: CC BY 4.0
Artist's impression of "the oldest star of our Galaxy": HE 1523-0901
  • About 13.2 billion years old
  • Approximately 7500 light years far from Earth
  • Published as part of Hamburg/ESO Survey in the May 10 2007 issue of The Astrophysical Journal
Crab Nebula.jpg
This is a mosaic image, one of the largest ever taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, of the Crab Nebula, a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion. Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded this violent event in 1054 CE, as did, almost certainly, Native Americans.

The orange filaments are the tattered remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The rapidly spinning neutron star embedded in the center of the nebula is the dynamo powering the nebula's eerie interior bluish glow. The blue light comes from electrons whirling at nearly the speed of light around magnetic field lines from the neutron star. The neutron star, like a lighthouse, ejects twin beams of radiation that appear to pulse 30 times a second due to the neutron star's rotation. A neutron star is the crushed ultra-dense core of the exploded star.

The Crab Nebula derived its name from its appearance in a drawing made by Irish astronomer Lord Rosse in 1844, using a 36-inch telescope. When viewed by Hubble, as well as by large ground-based telescopes such as the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, the Crab Nebula takes on a more detailed appearance that yields clues into the spectacular demise of a star, 6,500 light-years away.

The newly composed image was assembled from 24 individual Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 exposures taken in October 1999, January 2000, and December 2000. The colors in the image indicate the different elements that were expelled during the explosion. Blue in the filaments in the outer part of the nebula represents neutral oxygen, green is singly-ionized sulfur, and red indicates doubly-ionized oxygen.
Author/Creator: Me, Licence: Copyrighted free use
SVG replacement for File:Spaceship and the Sun.jpg. A stylized illustration of a spaceship and the sun, based on the description of the emblem of the fictional Galactic Empire in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series ("The golden globe with its conventionalized rays, and the oblique cigar shape that was a space vessel"). This image could be used as a icon for science-fiction related articles.
This view of the rising Earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the Moon after the fourth nearside orbit. Earth is about five degrees above the horizon in the photo. The unnamed surface features in the foreground are near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from Earth. The lunar horizon is approximately 780 kilometers from the spacecraft. Width of the photographed area at the horizon is about 175 kilometers. On the Earth 240,000 miles away, the sunset terminator bisects Africa.
Solar system.jpg
This is a montage of planetary images taken by spacecraft managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Included are (from top to bottom) images of Mercury, Venus, Earth (and Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The spacecraft responsible for these images are as follows:
  • the Mercury image was taken by Mariner 10,
  • the Venus image by Magellan,
  • the Earth and Moon images by Galileo,
  • the Mars image by Mars Global Surveyor,
  • the Jupiter image by Cassini, and
  • the Saturn, Uranus and Neptune images by Voyager.
  • Pluto is not shown as it is no longer a planet. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, and Mars) are roughly to scale to each other; the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are roughly to scale to each other. PIA 00545 is the same montage with Neptune shown larger in the foreground. Actual diameters are given below:
  • Sun (to photosphere) 1,392,684 km
  • Mercury 4,879.4 km
  • Venus 12,103.7 km
  • Earth 12,756.28 km
  • Moon 3,476.2 km
  • Mars 6,804.9 km
  • Jupiter 142,984 km
  • Saturn 120,536 km
  • Uranus 51,118 km
  • Neptune 49,528 km