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Star of the week: Polaris, the North Star

The entire northern sky wheels around Polaris. But it’s not the brightest star in the sky. In fact, Polaris ranks only 50th in brightness.

Star of the week: Alpha Centauri

We see this star system as a single star, but it’s really 3 stars. Of the 3, Proxima is closer to our sun than any other known star.

Star of the week: Arcturus

Arcturus, a red giant, looks orange to the eye. It’s the brightest star on the northern half of Earth’s sky dome.

Thuban is a former Pole Star

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

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.

Spica is a whirling double star

Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, is a whirling double star. How to see it in your sky.

Mizar and Alcor, famous double star

Find Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor in the Big Dipper’s handle.

Cor Caroli, the Heart of Charles

Cor Caroli is a binary star and the brightest star in the northern constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs.

Mimosa, 2nd-brightest in Southern Cross

To glimpse Mimosa, you need to be at the latitude of New Orleans, Cairo or New Delhi. From the southern hemisphere, Mimosa is a prominent and beloved star.

Acrux, brightest star in Southern Cross

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

Regulus: Heart of the Lion

Meet Regulus, brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

Alphard is the Snake’s Heart

The star Alphard is the Heart of the Snake in constellation Hydra. Look for Alphard in the evening sky in March, April, and May.

Pollux: The brighter Twin star

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 is 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 near its brighter brother on the sky’s dome.

Castor is 6 stars in one

Castor is one of 2 bright stars in the constellation Gemini the Twins. It appears as a single star, but it’s actually a multiple star system.

Sirius is Dog Star and brightest star

Sirius – the Dog Star – is the sky’s brightest star. It’s very easy to spot on winter and spring evenings.

Second-brightest star Canopus

Canopus is the 2nd-brightest star in the sky, and it’s easy to spot on February evenings, if …

Elnath is close to the galactic anticenter

Elnath, the 2nd-brightest star in Taurus, is the closest bright star to the galactic anticenter – the point in space directly opposite of our Milky Way’s center.

Capella is 2 golden stars

We see Capella as the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. It’s actually 2 stars, each with a golden color similar to our sun.

Rigel in Orion is blue-white

Blue-white Rigel, in the constellation Orion, is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It’s about twice as hot, and 40,000 times brighter, than our sun.