Dense star field with Milky Way and several bright stars behind a domed observatory building.

Beta Centauri is a Southern Pointer Star

Beta Centauri isn’t as famous as Alpha Centauri, but together, these brilliant Southern Hemisphere stars have inspired legends and guided mariners.

An image of the star Alpha Centauri that appears very bright against a backdrop of much fainter stars and dust clouds.

Alpha Centauri, star system closest to our sun

Our closest stellar neighbors are the 3 stars that make up the Alpha Centauri system. They lie just over 4 light-years – about 25 trillion miles or 38 trillion km – away.

Star chart showing the Southern Cross - aka Crux - and highlights its brightest star Acrux.

Acrux, brightest star in Southern Cross

You have to go far south on Earth’s globe to see the Southern Cross constellation. Bluish Acrux, aka Alpha Crucis, is its brightest star.

Bright star low in deep blue sky above dark mountains.

Can you see Canopus, the 2nd-brightest star?

Here’s how to spot Canopus, the 2nd-brightest star in the sky as seen from Earth, on February evenings.

Line of small dots close together in varied bright rainbow colors.

See Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky

Find out how to spot Sirius – in the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog – the brightest star as seen from Earth. Learn the mythology behind this dazzling light and how it earned the nickname of the Dog Star.

A fuzzy red star, emcompassed by a shell and multiple arcs.

When will Betelgeuse explode?

The red supergiant star will explode in a supernova, close enough to shine brightly during the day but far enough away that Earth won’t be in danger.

Black background with one central white spot with spikes, and a tiny white dot on its left side.

How to see Sirius B

The sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is a double star. A small white dwarf called Sirius B, or the Pup, orbits the larger primary star. The Pup isn’t easy to spot, but it is possible. Here’s how.

Two yellow shining balls.

Capella is sometimes called the Goat Star

The 6th-brightest star in the night sky, Capella, is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere constellation Auriga the Charioteer. This star is also one of the points in the Winter Hexagon.

An image of Schedar with faint stars scattered in the background.

Schedar shines brightly at the Queen’s heart

Orange-hued Schedar is the brightest star in the distinctive W-shaped northern constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.

Photo of star Bellatrix, with a comet sweeping near.

Bellatrix is Orion’s 3rd-brightest star

The bluish-white shoulder star, Bellatrix, aka Gamma Orionis, has a name that means “female warrior.” Bellatrix is one of the hottest stars you can see without optical aid.

A faint, fuzzy galaxy located along our line of sight to a bright orange star.

Mirach is guide star to 3 galaxies

Mirach, a bright star in the constellation Andromeda, is often used by stargazers to locate the Andromeda Galaxy, the Triangulum Galaxy, and a galaxy known as Mirach’s Ghost (NGC 404).

Image of bright Gamma Cephei with sparsely distributed faint stars.

Gamma Cephei: A future Pole Star

About two thousand years from now, Gamma Cephei, an inconspicuous star in the constellation Cepheus, will become our North Star.

A star map showing how to find the Andromeda Galaxy from Alpheratz.

Alpheratz belongs to Andromeda, but is part of the Great Square

Alpheratz, the brightest star in the constellation Andromeda, can help you locate the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way home galaxy.

A star called Mira the Wonderful

Mira, in Cetus the Whale, varies in brightness over about 11 months. In late September 2020, it might be near its peak brightness, easily bright enough to be viewed with the eye alone.

Deneb is distant and very luminous

When you gaze at the bright star Deneb, you’re gazing across thousands of light-years of space.

A image of two blue-white stars shining prominently in a backdrop of fainter reddish stars.

Meet the Scorpion’s Stinger stars, Shaula and Lesath

The constellation Scorpius resembles a scorpion, complete with a curved tail. Two stars close together near the end of the Tail – Shaula and Lesath – represent the Scorpion’s Stinger. They’re easy to spot and fun to get to know!

Image of a star field showing two bright stars, Epsilon Lyrae 1 and Epsilon Lyrae 2.

Epsilon Lyrae is the famous Double Double star

To the unaided eye, Epsilon Lyrae, in the constellation Lyra, appears as one star. But it’s actually a star system with at least five stars.

Vega: Brilliant blue-white star in the Summer Triangle

Vega is 1 of 3 stars in an asterism – or noticeable star pattern – called the Summer Triangle in the early evening sky.

A single bright star, Regulus. Above it is a faint smudge of light, the dwarf galaxy Leo I.

Meet Regulus, the Lion’s Heart

The bright star Regulus is very prominent in the evening sky in May. It looks like a single point of light, but is really 4 stars. It’s the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

Mimosa, 2nd-brightest in Southern Cross

To see Mimosa, you need to be at the latitude of New Orleans, Hawaii, Cairo or New Delhi. From the Southern Hemisphere, Mimosa is a prominent and beloved star.