Which are the smallest and the largest stars?
Finding the smallest and the largest stars in the galaxy has been one of the greatest challenge astronomers have faced. According to the latest observations, the smallest star found is the RG0050-2722. it is about one fourth the sun’s diameter, and 2.5 times the diameter of Jupiter as shown in the diagram given below. If this star was to be placed at the centre of the solar system, it would shine about as brightly as the full moon.
There are many stars that are smaller than RG0050-2722 but these are not ordinarily stars. Some are white dwarfs, which are of the size of mars. Others are neutron stars, which are only a few kilometers across. Neutron stars are so dense that a pinhead of their material would weigh about a million tones. The small stars glow for thousands of millions of years.
When we look at the sky with very powerful telescopes, even the largest stars look like tiny points of light since they are very far away from us. One of the largest stars found is Betelgeuse, the bright reddish star in Orion. The size of this star has been compared with the orbits of the inner planets.
This star is 15 to 20 times more massive than the sun. a shell of dust surrounds it. This star is receding from us at a speed of 10 kilometers per second. Other very big stars are Antares in Scorpio and Alpha Herculis in the constellation Hercules. The latter is 500 times bigger than our sun. Reference book Children’s Knowledge bank by Dr. C.L. Garg.
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