Insight Into: Sizes of Stars

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Think the Sun is big? The variety of stars in our galaxy is mind-boggling.  

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       Winter Circle star field image created with Stellarium
·       Omega Centauri ground-based image courtesy of F. Lehman (South Florida Dark Sky Observers)
·       Photo of night sky at twilight courtesy of ESO/H. H. Heyer
·       Milky Way star field photo courtesy of ESO/C. Malin
·       Orion Nebula 3D animation courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser
·       Star formation animation courtesy of NCSA/NASA/A. Kritsuk and M. Norman (UC San Diego) and A. Boley (Univ. of Florida)
·       Photo of the Milky Way over the Austrian Alps copyright Babak A. Tafreshi (TWAN)
Written by Vanessa Thomas
Designed by John Godfrey


 The Sun in space. 

Text, Our Sun is a star -- a gigantic ball of gas held together by gravity. 

Compared to the Sun, our entire planet is a mere speck. SUN. EARTH. 

A tiny blue dot hangs to the right of an enormous yellow sphere. 

Text, However, the Sun is not all that big in the realm of stars. 

Like most stars, the Sun is considered a dwarf star. 

A large blue star bumps the Sun away. 

Text, Other stars are much, much bigger. VEGA. 

A larger yellow star bumps Vega / away. 


A larger blue star bumps Arcturus away. 

Text, RIGEL. 

A larger orange star bumps Rigel away. 


A larger red-orange star bumps Antares away. 


We skim the edge of the star. 

Text, The variety of stars in our galaxy is mind-boggling. 

A small yellow dot appears. 

Text, SUN.