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Bright Giant

The general term giant is applied to stars in the later stages of their lifecycles that have moved away from the main sequence and show stronger luminosity than a dwarf or main sequence star. These typical giants are indicated by a suffix 'III' on their spectral classifications. There exists a subset of giant stars, however, that show notably higher luminosity than typical giants, and yet do not fall within the specific classification of a supergiant. These unusually luminous giants are termed bright giants, and are indicated with the suffix 'II' on their spectral classifications.

Bright giants do not necessarily share specific features beyond their strong luminosity (they can occur with different colourations, for example). In some cases, the bright giant state represents a transitional phase between a giant and a supergiant, but this not always the case.

Canopus in Carina demonstrates how luminous a bright giant star can be: at a distance of more than three hundred light years, it is nonetheless the second brightest star in the skies of Earth. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

The brightest star of this kind is Canopus in Carina, one of the brightest stars in Earth's sky (though in fact the status of Canopus is not fully settled, and some authorities prefer to classify it as a true supergiant rather than a bright giant). Other prominent examples of bright giant stars include blue Adhara in Canis Major, bright yellow Sargas in Scorpius, and the hot O-type star Mintaka that forms part of Orion's Belt.


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