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Supergiant

Supergiants are the most massive stars.

Supergiants can have masses from 10 to 70 solar masses and brightness from 30,000 up to hundreds of thousands times the solar luminosity.

They vary greatly in radii, usually from 30 to 500, or even in excess of 1000 solar radii.

Because of their extreme masses they have short lifespans of only 10 to 50 million years and are only observed in young cosmic structures such as open clusters, the arms of spiral galaxies, and in irregular galaxies.

They are less abundant in spiral galaxy bulges, and are not observed in elliptical galaxies, or globular clusters, all of which are believed to be composed of old stars.

Currently, the largest known stars in terms of physical size, not mass or luminosity, are the supergiants VV Cephei, V354 Cephei, KW Sagitarii, KY Cygni, and the Garnet Star.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Supergiant", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 27, 2015

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