Impossible to imagine: what are the largest objects in the universe and where they are

We know that the Earth is not the largest planet in the Universe, there are gas giants relatively close to us

Jupiter and Saturn.But the Sun is also not the most massive star in space, compared to some - just a dwarf. The Milky Way, our galaxy, isn't that big either. So who are they really called space giants?

The largest nebula

The Tarantula Nebula is the largest knownand the most active star forming region in our galactic region. It spans 1,800 light years and lies 170,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

This is one of the most famous and active stars"Nurseries" - young stars are born in its beautiful folds of gas and dust. a particularly active region is in the center of the nebula, in the star cluster R136.

The largest galaxy

The largest galaxy known ontoday - IC 1101. Recent observations have shown that its size is about 5.6-6 million light years. Compare: the diameter of the Milky Way is only 100,000 light years. If IC 1101 is placed where the Milky Way is now, its edge would reach our neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy.

IC 1101 is located in the constellation Virgo, which has more than 100 trillion stars. The distance from Earth to the cosmic giant is 1.04 billion light years.

The largest exoplanet

When GQ Lupi b was first discovered in 2005,astronomers were greatly surprised. The planet revolves around a young star at a huge distance - it is 2.5 times greater than between Pluto and the Sun. This companion object was similar to both a planet and a brown dwarf (a kind of small star - "Hi-Tech").

Image courtesy of ESO

Subsequent observations did not clarify the situation, buttoday scientists suggest that the radius of GQ Lupi b is about 3.5 times that of Jupiter. This means that if it is an exoplanet, then it is the largest ever discovered.

The biggest star

When it comes to the biggest star, it's allnot easy. Most stars are variable, which means that they change in brightness, radius, and effective temperature throughout most of their life. Until 2020, the largest star was considered UY Scuti (UY Shield) - this is a hypergiant star whose radius is about 1,700 times that of the Sun. If someone had placed Shield UY at the center of the solar system, its edge would extend just beyond Jupiter's orbit. Gas and dust emanating from the star would extend even further - beyond Pluto's orbit.

Image Credit: Philip Park / CC by SA 3.0

However, according to updated data, she is not the biggest star, since 2020 this title belongs to Stephenson 2-18.

It is a bright red supergiant or hypergianta member of the Stevenson 2 Star Cluster. It is also one of the brightest cold supergiants. Its radius is 2,158 solar, and the light emitted is comparable to that of 440,000 suns.

The largest black hole

Supermassive black holes are thought to beare at the center of every galaxy, even ours. Their mass is millions of times greater than that of the Sun, and the largest of them is TON 618. Against the background of giants, this is the most impressive object - a black hole 66 billion heavier than the Sun.

TON 618 is located in the constellation Canine Hounds and is far enough from us - at a distance of 10.37 billion light years from Earth.

Largest single object

When the universe was only one tenthpart of the current age, 14 galaxies began to actively interact with each other. They collided, forming the most massive known gravitationally bound space object - the SPT2349-56 protocluster.

Image Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

Ultimately, it will unite into a single galaxy, the mass of which will be a quadrillion times the mass of the Sun. By the way, SPT2349-56 was discovered quite recently, in 2018.

Bonus: the largest cluster of the brightest objects

Quasars are at the center of active galaxies andare some of the brightest objects known in the universe. They emit a thousand times more energy than the Milky Way, which contains 200 to 400 billion stars. And in the summer of 2018, astronomers from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the United States discovered the brightest of them. This quasar is 13 billion light-years from Earth and appeared when the size of the universe was less than 10% of its current size.

Sometimes quasars can combine into clusters,for example Huge-LQG (Huge Large Quasar Group, a huge large group of quasars). It is a colossal space collection containing 73 quasars with a total mass of 6.1 quintillion (this is a one followed by 18 zeros) Suns.

To infinity and beyond

Scientists continue to study the universe. Perhaps the largest stars, planets and galaxies we know are actually dwarfs. In any case, in comparison with the future finds of mankind.

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