VY Canis Majoris

VY Canis Majoris , also known as VY CMa or VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa abbreviation in English) is the star and largest of the brightest in the sky night. It’s a red hypergiant star located in the constellation of Canis Major . At the time it was the largest known star , although other larger stars were later discovered. Currently the largest known star is UY Scuti (although possibly Westerlund 1-26 ).

Discovered a few years ago, VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa) is so huge that it has put astronomers on a war footing since no one knows quite how to catalog it. Some prefer to do it with the current larger definition, that of “super giant”, while others say that it is so large that it deserves a new scale of “hyper giant” itself. Of something if we can be sure: with its colossal volume, some 1800 to 2100 times greater than that of our Sun , VY Canis Majoris is so large that if we replaced our star with this other, its radius would extend to Saturn .


How to locate the star VY Canis Majoris


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  • 1 Location
  • 2 Mythology
  • 3 Origin of the name
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Sources


VY Canis Majoris is so extremely large that if we pull down its radius it would be 8.8 AU, much greater than the distance that separates Jupiter from the Sun and almost skims the orbit of Saturn. Its radius could be as rough as 14 AU, almost halfway between Saturn and Uranus . In general terms, it is considered a star with a radius greater than the distance between Saturn and the Sun, of approximately 2 billion kilometers. From the earth’s surface VY Canis Majoris appears as a star close to the constellation Canis Major, the constellation in which we find Sirius, one of the brightest stars in the sky. But in reality and despite appearing very close and almost sharing a constellation, it turns out that Sirius is a star very close to us and that it is only 8.5 light years away. Meanwhile, VY Canis Majoris is a star located 4890 light years from our planet.

  • Object Name: VY Canis Majoris
  • Object Description: Variable star with Circum-stellar Nebula
  • Position (J2000): AR 07h 22m 58s.33 Dec. -25 ° 46 ‘3 “.2
  • Constellation: Canis Major
  • Distance: Approximately 5000 light years (1.5 kiloparsecs)
  • Dimensions: The images obtained assume (0.85 light years or 0.25 parsecs)


Name’s origin

“Canis Major” (Latin) is a constellation, also known as “Can Mayor” (Spanish). “Can” means dog in old Castilian Spanish, so the translation would be “older dog”, since that is the shape of the constellation.

As for the “VY” it has no concrete meaning. The star Sirius is also called “alpha Canis Majoris”, Mirzam is “beta Canis Majoris” and so the Greek alphabet was followed until the end and then the Latin letters began with the stars “AA Canis Majoris”, “AB Canis Majoris”, .. “AZ Canis Majoris”, “BA Canis Majoris” and so on until reaching “VY Canis Majoris”.

The name “VY Canis Majoris” simply indicates that it is a star belonging to the constellation “Can Major” and that it was discovered after the star “VX Canis Majoris”, so the letters “VY”


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