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Larry Sessions

10 surprises about our solar system

Here are 10 unexpected and intriguing facts about our solar system – our sun and its family of planets – you probably did not know!

Quietly, Regulus ushers in springtime

Regulus, brightest star in Leo the Lion, is now rising in the east after sunset. You might not notice it, but stargazers know that, when Regulus appears in this way, spring is near.

Will Betelgeuse explode someday?

Yes, it will. 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.

How far is Betelgeuse?

Finding star distances isn’t easy. Here’s how it’s done, and why astronomers modified the distance estimate to the famous star Betelgeuse.

Super effect on us from supermoons?

A supermoon’s extra pull of gravity creates higher-than-usual tides. But the moon’s pull doesn’t affect a human body nearly as powerfully as it does an ocean.

Bellatrix, in Orion, means Female Warrior

You might know Rigel and Betelgeuse, Orion’s brightest stars. Now meet 2 more stars in Orion, called Bellatrix and Saiph.

Focus on stars Betelgeuse and Rigel

Many constellations have a bright star, but Orion has two: Rigel and Betelgeuse.

Aldebaran is the Bull’s fiery eye

Aldebaran – brightest star in Taurus the Bull – is huge! If it replaced our sun, its surface would extend almost to the orbit of Mercury.

Was the Christmas Star real?

Some possible astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem or Christmas star.

Achernar is the End of the River

Achernar – aka Alpha Eridani – is the 9th brightest star in the sky and the flattest star known.