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Answered 2012-02-08 03:51:40

No, you don't have to confuse "more massive" with "bigger". The most massive star in the eta Carinae system may have 100 times the mass of the Sun and be dozens of times bigger than our star but it is far smaller than VY CMa.

VY CMa is a red supergiant that has swollen to an extremely large size due to shell burning of different layers on its last stages of life. VY CMa is a cool star. On the other hand eta Carinae is very hot and it is in a different evolutionary state.

It is so massive that it will never reach the red supergiant state because it is losing mass at a fast rate. Also the companion play a role and alters the evolution.

Eventually eta Car will become a WR star (a naked core) and explode as a supernova. The same fate is expected for VY CMa but since it has already become a rec supergiant it is very likely that it won't become a WR star. This shows that VY CMa is far less massive than eta Car.

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