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Brightest Stars

Image Credit: ESO Online Digitized Sky Survey
Tonight | Apr 12, 2014

Star of the week: Mizar and Alcor, famous double star, really six stars

Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor are located in the handle of the Big Dipper. They are one of the sky’s easiest-to-spot double stars.

Cor Caroli by F. Ringwald, Fresno State
Tonight | Apr 09, 2014

Cor Caroli or Heart of Charles

The star Cor Caroli, or Alpha Canum Venaticorum, is a binary star and the brightest star in the northern constellation Canes Venatici.

Constellation Crux photo by Christopher J Picking in New Zealand.  More information about this photo here.  Used with permission
Tonight | Apr 02, 2014

Mimosa second-brightest in Southern Cross

If you’re in the U.S., you must be at about New Orleans’ latitude to glimpse it. From the southern hemisphere, Mimosa is a prominent and beloved star.

Constellation Crux photo by Christopher J Picking in New Zealand.  More information about this photo here.  Used with permission
Tonight | Mar 26, 2014

Acrux is brightest star in Southern Cross

Blue Acrux shines as the brightest star in the constellation Crux the Southern Cross.

Credit: Russell Croman
Tonight | Mar 19, 2014

Regulus is the Lion’s Heart

Meet Regulus, brightest star in Leo the Lion, soon to be covered by an asteroid in the best and brightest asteroid occultation ever predicted for North America.

Alphard.  (North Central Kansas Astronomical Society)
Tonight | Mar 09, 2014

Alphard is the Snake’s Heart

You can see Alphard – the Heart of the constellation Hydra the Water Snake – in the evening in March, April, and May.

Golden Pollux
Tonight | Mar 03, 2014

Pollux is the brighter of two Twin stars

Pollux is the brighter of two bright stars in the constellation Gemini the Twins. It is the 17th brightest star in our sky.

Castor system via Jeremy Perez
Tonight | Feb 23, 2014

Castor is six stars in one

Two stars noticeable for being bright and close together might be Castor and Pollux of the Gemini Twins constellation.

Sirius A and B
Tonight | Feb 17, 2014

Sirius is Dog Star and brightest star

Sirius – in the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog – is the sky’s brightest star. It’s very easy to spot on winter and spring evenings.

Canopus seen from ISS
Tonight | Feb 09, 2014

Will you see Canopus?

From the southern U.S. or similar latitudes, you’ll easily find Canopus on February evenings. Look southward below brilliant Sirius.

Tonight | Jan 26, 2014

Betelgeuse will explode someday

Someday, the star Betelgeuse will run out of fuel, collapse under its own weight, and then rebound in a spectacular supernova explosion. Someday … but probably not soon.

Elnath represents the Bull's Northern Horn.  Via Urania
Tonight | Jan 22, 2014

Elnath is close to the galactic anticenter

Elnath is the second-brightest star in Taurus the Bull. It’s the closest bright star to the galactic anticenter – the point in space that lies directly opposite of the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Capella system, via Atlas of the Universe
Tonight | Jan 12, 2014

Capella is two golden stars

We see Capella as the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. It is really two stars, each with a golden color similar to our sun.

Blue-white Rigel via Clark Planetarium
Tonight | Videos | Jan 05, 2014

Rigel in Orion is blue-white

We could not live as close to Rigel as we live to our sun, because Rigel is nearly twice as hot – and about 40,000 times brighter – than our local star.

Tonight | Dec 29, 2013

Aldebaran is the Bull’s fiery eye

If Aldebaran were placed where the sun is now, its surface would extend almost to the orbit of Mercury.

Mirfak and Algol in Perseus
Tonight | Dec 26, 2013

Mirfak is Perseus’ brightest star

Mirfak isn’t as famous as its brother star in Perseus, called Algol. But Mirfak is easier to find and can help guide you to Algol.

Look south in late autumn / early winter
Tonight | Dec 11, 2013

Menkar is the Whale’s alpha star

Okay, it’s not the most famous star in Cetus. It’s not even the brightest, although it carries the designation Alpha. But Menkar has its own claims to fame.

Star trails, one of which is Hamal, via H. Raab on Flickr.
Tonight | Dec 03, 2013

Hamal is an ancient equinox star

The star Hamal, also known as Alpha Arietis, is the brightest star in Aries the Ram. Learn the role this star played in defining the term First Point in Aries.

Four stars in the Almach system
Tonight | Nov 17, 2013

Almach is a quadruple star system

Almach looks like a single star to the eye and like a colorful double star through a telescope. But today we know Almach as four stars.

Achernar is flattened because it rotates rapidly
Tonight | Nov 10, 2013

Achernar is the End of the River

Achernar – also known as Alpha Eridani – is the 9th brightest star in Earth’s sky and the flattest star known.

Al Risha via STScI
Nov 04, 2013

Star Al Risha knots two Fishes of Pisces together

The star Al Risha in Pisces is not bright. But – at the tip of the V in Pisces – it’s very noticeable.