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Brightest Stars

Star trails, one of which is Hamal, via H. Raab on Flickr.
Tonight | Dec 02, 2014

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.

Mira, from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Tonight | Nov 27, 2014

Mira the Wonderful

This star in the constellation Cetus varies in brightness like clockwork over 11 months. That’s why, for centuries, stargazers have called it Mira the Wonderful.

Four stars in the Almach system
Tonight | Nov 18, 2014

Star of the week: 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 11, 2014

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 05, 2014

Al Risha knots two Fishes of Pisces together

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

Medusa_by_Caravaggio-cp
Tonight | Oct 31, 2014

Algol is the Demon Star

On (or around) Halloween, look for Algol – a star named for a demon!

Image via thebadastronomer on Flickr
Tonight | Oct 27, 2014

Mirach is guide star to three galaxies

The orange-colored star Mirach in the constellation Andromeda acts as your guide star to three different galaxies: M31 (Andromeda galaxy), M33 (Triangulum galaxy), and NGC 404.

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

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.