UY Scuti

From the Science Archives, the open-project database of science information that barely anyone can edit
Jump to navigation Jump to search

UY Scuti
240 px
Dense starfield around the red supergiant star UY Scuti (brightest star in the image) as seen from the Rutherfurd Observatory in the Columbia University in New York, United States. The picture was captured in 2011.
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Scutum
Right ascension 18h 27m 36.5334s[1]
Declination −12° 27′ 58.866″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 8.29 - 10.56[2]
Spectral type M2-M4Ia-Iab[2]
U−B color index +3.29[3]
B−V color index +3.00[4]
Variable type SRc[5]
Radial velocity (Rv)18.33±0.82[6] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: 1.3[7] mas/yr
Dec.: −1.6[7] mas/yr
Parallax (π)0.6433 ± 0.1059 mas
Distance5,100 ly
Absolute magnitude (MV)−6.2[8]
Mass7–10 M
Radius755 R
Diameter755 D
Surface gravity (log g)−0.5 cgs
Temperature3,365±134 K
Other designations
UY Sct, BD-12 5055, IRC -10422, RAFGL 2162, HV 3805
Database references

UY Scuti (BD-12 5055) is a red hypergiant and pulsating variable star in the constellation Scutum, and one of the most luminous red supergiants. If placed at the center of the Solar System, UY Sct's photosphere would extend beyond the orbit of Mars. It is also a variable star with a maximum brightness of magnitude 8.29 and a minimum of magnitude 10.56.[2]

Nomenclature and history

UY Scuti was first cataloged in 1860, by German astronomers at the Bonn Observatory, during the first sky survey of stars for the Bonner Durchmusterung Stellar Catalogue.[9] It was named BD-12 5055, the 5,055th star between 12°S and 13°S counting from 0h right ascension.

On the next detection of the star in the second survey, it was found to have changed slightly in brightness, suggesting that it was a new variable star. In accordance with the international standard of designation of variable stars, it was called UY Scuti, the 38th variable star of the constellation Scutum (see variable star designation).[10]

UY Scuti is located a few degrees north of the A-type star Gamma Scuti and northeast of the Eagle Nebula. Although the star is very luminous it is, at its brightest, only 9th magnitude as viewed from Earth, due to its distance and location in the Zone of Avoidance within the Cygnus rift.[11]


An illustration of the approximate size of UY Scuti compared to the Sun

UY Sct is a dust-enshrouded red supergiant[12] and is classified as a semiregular variable with an approximate pulsation period of 740 days.[5][13][14]

In the summer of 2012, Arroyo-Torres et al. using AMBER interferometry from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Atacama Desert in Chile measured the parameters of three red supergiants near the Galactic Center region:[3] UY Scuti, AH Scorpii, and KW Sagittarii. They determined that all three stars are over 1,000 times bigger than the Sun and over 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun. UY Scuti was thought to be the largest star known in the universe as a result of their findings,[3] however, data from the Gaia Data Release 2 of 2018 showed that UY Scuti is much closer to the Sun, at only 5,100 light years away (or 1.55 kiloparsecs), and much smaller with a radius of 755 solar radii,[15] in between the sizes of the two brightest naked-eye red supergiant stars in the night sky - Betelgeuse (radius of 730 solar radii)[16] and Antares (radius of 776 solar radii).[17]

UY Scuti's mass is uncertain, primarily because it has no visible companion star by which its mass can be measured through gravitational interference. However, it is expected to be between 7 and 10 M.[3] Mass is being lost at 5.8×10−5 M per year, leading to an extensive and complex circumstellar environment of gas and dust.[18]


Based on current models of stellar evolution, UY Scuti has begun to fuse helium, and continues to fuse hydrogen in a shell around the core. The location of UY Scuti deep within the Milky Way disc suggests that it is a metal-rich star.[19]

After fusing heavy elements, its core will begin to produce iron, disrupting the balance of gravity and radiation in its core and resulting in a core collapse supernova. It is expected that stars like UY Scuti should evolve back to hotter temperatures to become a yellow hypergiant, luminous blue variable, or a Wolf–Rayet star, creating a strong stellar wind that will eject its outer layers and expose the core, before exploding as a type IIb, IIn, or type Ib/Ic supernova.[20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hog, E.; Kuzmin, A.; Bastian, U.; Fabricius, C.; Kuimov, K.; Lindegren, L.; Makarov, V. V.; Roeser, S. (1998). "The TYCHO Reference Catalogue". Astronomy and Astrophysics 335: L65. Bibcode 1998A&A...335L..65H.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Arroyo-Torres, B.; Wittkowski, M.; Marcaide, J. M.; Hauschildt, P. H. (2013). "The atmospheric structure and fundamental parameters of the red supergiants AH Scorpii, UY Scuti, and KW Sagittarii". Astronomy & Astrophysics 554: A76. arXiv:1305.6179. Bibcode 2013A&A...554A..76A. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201220920.
  4. Ducati, J. R. (2002). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Catalogue of Stellar Photometry in Johnson's 11-color system". CDS/ADC Collection of Electronic Catalogues 2237: 0. Bibcode 2002yCat.2237....0D.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kholopov, P. N.; Samus, N. N.; Kazarovets, E. V.; Perova, N. B. (1985). "The 67th Name-List of Variable Stars". Information Bulletin on Variable Stars 2681: 1. Bibcode 1985IBVS.2681....1K.
  6. "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Gaia DR2 (Gaia Collaboration, 2018)". VizieR On-line Data Catalog: I/345. 2018. Bibcode 2018yCat.1345....0G.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 375: attempt to concatenate a nil value.
  8. Lee, T. A. (1970). "Photometry of high-luminosity M-type stars". Astrophysical Journal 162: 217. Bibcode 1970ApJ...162..217L. doi:10.1086/150648.
  9. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  10. Prager, R. (1927). "Katalog und Ephemeriden veraenderlicher Sterne fuer 1927". Kleine Veroeffentlichungen der Universitaetssternwarte zu Berlin Babelsberg 1: 1.i. Bibcode 1927KVeBB...1....1P.
  11. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  12. Van Loon, J. Th.; Cioni, M.-R. L.; Zijlstra, A. A.; Loup, C. (2005). "An empirical formula for the mass-loss rates of dust-enshrouded red supergiants and oxygen-rich Asymptotic Giant Branch stars". Astronomy and Astrophysics 438: 273–289. arXiv:astro-ph/0504379. Bibcode 2005A&A...438..273V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20042555.
  13. Whiting, Wendy A. (1978). "Observations of Three Variable Stars in Scutum". The Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers 7 (2): 71. Bibcode 1978JAVSO...7...71W.
  14. Jura, M.; Kleinmann, S. G. (1990). "Mass-losing M supergiants in the solar neighborhood". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 73: 769. Bibcode 1990ApJS...73..769J. doi:10.1086/191488.
  16. Kervella, P.; Perrin, G.; Chiavassa, A.; Ridgway, S. T.; Cami, J.; Haubois, X.; Verhoelst, T. (2011). "The close circumstellar environment of Betelgeuse". Astronomy & Astrophysics 531: A117. arXiv:1106.5041. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201116962.
  18. Sylvester, R. J.; Skinner, C. J.; Barlow, M. J. (1998). "Silicate and hydrocarbon emission from Galactic M supergiants". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 301 (4): 1083–1094. Bibcode 1998MNRAS.301.1083S. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.1998.02078.x.
  19. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  20. Groh, Jose H.; Meynet, Georges; Georgy, Cyril; Ekström, Sylvia (2013). "Fundamental properties of core-collapse supernova and GRB progenitors: Predicting the look of massive stars before death". Astronomy & Astrophysics 558: A131. arXiv:1308.4681. Bibcode 2013A&A...558A.131G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321906.

Template:Stars of Scutum