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Brightest Stars

X-ray view of Deneb Kaitos via NASA/CXC
Tonight | Oct 24, 2014

Star of the week: Deneb Kaitos is the Sea-Monster’s Tail

Look for Deneb Kaitos – brightest star in Cetus the Whale – highest in the sky around mid-evening in northern autumn.

Upside-down Cassiopeia on Mercator globe.
Tonight | Oct 14, 2014

Schedar lies at the Queen’s heart

For much of the Northern Hemisphere, on clear nights you can always see the brightest star in the constellation Cassiopeia.

Image via Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory.
Tonight | Sep 30, 2014

Gamma Cephei is a future North Star

Gamma Cephei (aka Errai) is a binary star system with at least one planet. It’ll someday be a North Star for Earth.

fomalhaut_disk_planet_300
Tonight | Sep 24, 2014

Fomalhaut had first visible exoplanet

Fomalhaut is sometimes called the Loneliest Star. Its planet Fomalhaut b was the first beyond our solar system to be visible to the human eye.

lights_tunnel_distance
Tonight | Sep 09, 2014

Delta Cephei is a famous variable star

Delta Cephei doubles in brightness every 5.36 days. This star and others like it have helped establish the known scale of our galaxy and universe.

Alpha Cephei, or Alderamin, via M. Zao.
Tonight | Sep 02, 2014

Alpha Cephei is a rapidly rotating star

Cepheus the King is not a very conspicuous constellation and has only one relatively bright star, Alderamin – aka Alpha Cephei. This star rotates rapidly!

South to overhead late summer to autumn
Tonight | Aug 28, 2014

61 Cygni is the Flying Star

61 Cygni isn’t bright. But it moves exceptionally rapidly against the background of more distant stars. Its motion reveals its nearness to Earth.

Albireo via Ian Anthony
Tonight | Aug 06, 2014

Albireo one of sky’s finest double stars

Albireo is known best for the striking color contrast between its two stars, with the brighter star gold and the dimmer star blue.

aquarius_black
Tonight | Jul 29, 2014

Star Skat is near radiant for Delta Aquarid meteors

How to spot it, plus an explanation of why meteors in annual showers have radiant points.

Vega via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Tonight | Jul 24, 2014

Vega is the Harp Star

One of the prettiest stories in all skylore surrounds this star. “On the 7th night of the 7th moon … “

Stars Eltanin and Rastaban, near bright star Vega
Tonight | Jul 16, 2014

Eltanin and Rastaban are the Dragon’s eyes

On summer nights, two famous stars shine down from high in the northern sky. Eltanin and Rastaban represent the fiery Eyes of the constellation Draco the Dragon.

Shaula (l) and Lesath via Starfield Observatory
Tonight | Jul 08, 2014

Shaula and Lesath are the Scorpion’s stinger stars

At the end of the Scorpius the Scorpion’s graceful pattern of stars, you’ll find the Stinger stars. Shaula and Lesath are noticeably bright and close together.

Antares and M4 image by stargazerbob@aol.com
Tonight | Jul 01, 2014

Antares is Heart of the Scorpion

The ruby Heart of Scorpius is the 16th brightest star in our sky and one of the most gigantic stars known.

Alphecca: brightest in C-shaped Corona Borealis.
Tonight | Jun 24, 2014

Alphecca is the jewel in the Northern Crown

Alphecca. Gemma. Alpha Coronae Borealis or simply Alpha Cor Bor. They’re all names for one star – the brightest star in the constellation Northern Crown.

Zubeneschamali via nikomi.net
Tonight | Jun 17, 2014

Is Zubeneschamali a green star?

Although some scientists claim stars can’t look green, many stargazers will swear that Zubeneschamali proves otherwise.

Artist's concept of Kochab seen from its planets via ESky
Tonight | Jun 10, 2014

Kochab and Pherkad guard the pole star

Two noticeable stars in the Little Dipper are said to guard the north celestial pole because they circle so close to Polaris.

Zubenelgenubi via AAO/STScI/WikiSky
Tonight | Jun 05, 2014

Zubenelgenubi is Libra’s alpha star

Zubenelgenubi is an Arabic name that means this star was once seen as the Southern Claw of Scorpius the Scorpion.

Polaris, on left, via Taro Yamamoto
Tonight | May 29, 2014

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 20, 2014

Alpha Centauri closest star system to our sun

The third star in the system, a red dwarf called Proxima Centauri, is thought to be about 4.22 light-years distant and is actually our sun’s closest neighbor.

Arcturus.
Tonight | May 13, 2014

Arcturus, orange star, cuts through galaxy’s disk

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

Great Pyramid of Giza
Tonight | May 06, 2014

Thuban is a former Pole Star

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