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Brightest Stars

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

Star of the week: 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.

Aldebaran-Sun_comparison_cropped
Tonight | Dec 29, 2015

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 22, 2015

Mirfak in Perseus

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
Science Wire | Dec 09, 2015

Menkar is the Whale’s alpha star

It’s not the most famous star in Cetus, or 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.
Science Wire | Dec 03, 2015

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.