Fr.: hypergéante froide
A highly unstable, → very massive star lying just below the empirical upper luminosity boundary in the → H-R diagram (→ Humphreys-Davidson limit) with spectral types ranging from late A to M. Cool hypergiants very likely represent a very short-lived evolutionary stage, and are distinguished by their high → mass loss rates. Many of them also show photometric and spectroscopic variability, and some have large → infrared excesses and extensive circumstellar ejecta. The evolutionary state of most of these stars is not known but they are all → post-main-sequence stars (Humphreys, 2008, IAUS 250).
A high luminosity star with absolute visual magnitude around -10, about 106 times as luminous as the Sun. Hypergiant stars are evolved → massive stars belonging to the luminosity class Ia+ or Ia0. Their spectra show very broadened emission and absorption lines resulting from the high luminosity and low surface gravity which favor strong → stellar wind. See also → Humphreys-Davidson limit; → yellow hypergiant.
yellow hypergiant (YHG)
Fr.: hypergéante jaune
An evolved, → very massive star of spectral type F or G with a very high luminosity (~105 times solar) lying near the empirical upper luminosity boundary in the → H-R diagram (→ Humphreys-Davidson limit). Yellow hypergiants have high → mass loss rates (10-5-10-3 solar masses per year) and are in a short, transitional evolutionary stage. Their evolutionary state is thought to correspond to post-red supergiants rapidly evolving in blueward loops in the H-R diagram. In their post-RSG blueward evolution these stars enter a temperature range (6000-9000 K), called → yellow void, with increased dynamical instability. Their link to other advanced evolutionary phases of massive stars such as → Luminous Blue Variables and → Wolf-Rayet stars is still an open issue in stellar evolution theory. The most famous yellow hypergiant is → Rho Cassiopeiae.