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Brightest Stars

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star.  He wrote, "For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference."  See more photos from Ken Christison.
Science Wire | May 24, 2016

Star of the week: Polaris is the North Star

The entire northern sky wheels around Polaris. Some assume it’s the brightest star in the sky. In fact, Polaris ranks only 50th in brightness.

Alpha Centauri
Tonight | May 19, 2016

Star of the week: Alpha Centauri, closest star system to our sun

Third star in the system, a red dwarf called Proxima Centauri, is our sun’s closest neighbor at about 4.22 light-years.

Artist's concept of the star Arcturus
Tonight | May 11, 2016

Arcturus cuts through galaxy’s disk

Arcturus is cutting perpendicularly through the galactic disk at a tremendous rate of speed – some 150 kilometers per second.

Kheops-Pyramid
Tonight | May 06, 2016

Thuban is a former Pole Star

Thuban was the Pole Star some 5,000 years ago, when the Egyptians were building the pyramids.

alpha-beta-centauri-southern-cross
Tonight | Apr 27, 2016

Hadar is a southern pointer star

Hadar, aka Beta Centauri, joins Alpha Centauri in pointing to the Southern Cross. It’s a triple system. Two of its stars will someday become nearby supernovae.

Artist's concept of Spica from hypothetical planet
Science Wire | Apr 23, 2016

Spica is a whirling double star

Spica is a binary star, with two stars larger and hotter than the sun, telescopically indistinguishable from a single point of light.

Image Credit: ESO Online Digitized Sky Survey
Tonight | Apr 12, 2016

Mizar and Alcor, a famous double star

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
Science Wire | Apr 07, 2016

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
Science Wire | Mar 30, 2016

Mimosa is second-brightest in Southern Cross

You need to be at the latitude of New Orleans, Cairo or New Delhi 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
Science Wire | Mar 24, 2016

Acrux, brightest star in Southern Cross

You have to be in the Southern Hemisphere to see Crux – the Southern
Cross – in all its glory. Bluish Acrux, aka Alpha Crucis, is its brightest star.

Credit: Russell Croman
Science Wire | Mar 17, 2016

Regulus is the Lion’s Heart

Meet Regulus, brightest star in Leo the Lion.

Alphard.  (North Central Kansas Astronomical Society)
Tonight | Mar 10, 2016

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. You almost never see an image of this star in the sky without its fellow star, Castor.  But we chose this image because it shows Pollux' yellowish color.  This image is from a post on ScienceBlogs about seeing red in star colors.
Science Wire | Mar 01, 2016

Pollux the brighter Twin star

Being so close together in the sky, Pollux and its brother star Castor are easy to compare. Pollux is brighter and golden in color, while Castor is fainter and white.

Procyon
Tonight | Feb 25, 2016

Procyon the Little Dog Star

The Dog Star, Sirius, is easy to spot because it’s the sky’s brightest star. Procyon – the other Dog Star – is always near its brighter brother on the sky’s dome.

Castor system via Jeremy Perez
Science Wire | Feb 17, 2016

Castor 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
Science Wire | Feb 10, 2016

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 04, 2016

Will you see Canopus?

Canopus is sky’s second-brightest star and easy to spot on February evenings, if …

Betelgeuse imaged in ultraviolet light by the Hubble Space Telescope and subsequently enhanced by NASA. The bright white spot is likely one of this star's poles. Image via NASA/ESA.
Science Wire | Jan 26, 2016

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.
Tonight | Jan 20, 2016

Elnath, near galactic anticenter

Second-brightest star in Taurus the Bull and closest bright star to the galactic anticenter – the point in space that lies directly opposite of our Milky Way’s center.

Capella system, via Atlas of the Universe
Tonight | Jan 15, 2016

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 | Jan 06, 2016

Rigel in Orion is blue-white

We couldn’t 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.