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Paper: The Biggest Stars of All
Volume: 412, The Biggest, Baddest, Coolest Stars
Page: 113
Authors: Wing, R.F.
Abstract: The classical method of estimating the sizes of stars, which dates back to the early use of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, employs spectroscopic indicators of surface temperature and luminosity, as well as trigonometric parallaxes (when available). The largest stars are those closest to the upper-right “corner” of the HR diagram. Although recent technological advances have provided direct measurements of the apparent sizes of many very large stars, and computational advances have placed the atmospheres of normal cool supergiants on a secure footing, the classical approach is still useful because it can easily be applied to stars too faint for direct measurements and too extreme for representation by models. I give examples of stars that appear to be larger than any that have been measured directly or modelled successfully. The main problem with the classical approach is that the calibrations of spectroscopic temperature and luminosity criteria are of unknown validity when extrapolated to extreme cases.
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