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VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa) is a red hypergiant star located in the constellation Canis Major. With a size of 2600 solar radii, it is the largest known star and also one of the most luminous known. It is located about 1.5 kiloparsecs (4.6×1016 km) or about 4,900 light years away from Earth. Unlike most stars, which occur in either binary or multiple star systems, VY CMa is a single star (i.e. does not have any stellar companions). It is categorized as a semiregular variable and has an estimated period of 6,275,081 days, or just under 17,200 years.
A very luminous red supergiant, one of the largest and brightest stars visible not only to the naked eye but in the entire Galaxy. It lies in the constellation Cepheus and is associated with a large region of nebulosity known as IC 1396 or the Garnet Star Nebula.
V509 Cas (or HD 217476 or HR 8752) is a yellow hypergiant, which semiregularly changes its brightness. It resembles to the bigger Rho Cas, which is nearly in the same direction. The state of evolution of V509 Cas is unknown. Maybe it has just started to become a red supergiant, maybe it is shortly before collapsing.
he unusual variable star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) continues to puzzle astronomers. This previously inconspicuous star underwent an outburst early in 2002, during which it temporarily increased in brightness to become 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun. Light from this sudden eruption is illuminating the interstellar dust surrounding the star, producing the most spectacular "light echo" in the history of astronomy.
Brightest star in the constellation Scorpio, the Scorpion. 16th brightest star in the sky (apparent visual magnitude = 0.9)
The diameter of the star is about 650 times the diameter of the sun. According to Burnham the star fluctuates irregularly in brightness over a period of years and has been seen to vary by up to a factor of two in luminosity. Betelgeuse is also pulsates irregularly in size. Burnham suggests that the diameter of the star may vary as much as 60%.
The brightest star in the constellation Taurus, the 13th brightest star in the sky, the most luminous star within 100 light-years of the Sun, and one of the nearest red giants. Its Arabic name, meaning "the Follower," refers to its apparent pursuit of the Pleiades across the sky. Aldebaran lies in front of the Hyades cluster but is not physically associated with it, being only half as far away. As part of a zodiacal constellation, it is close to the Sun's path, the Sun passing to the north of it around June 1; it is also regularly occulted by the Moon. Aldebaran is one of the easiest stars to find in the night sky. Simply follow the three stars of Orion's Belt from left to right (in the Northern Hemisphere) or right to left (in the Southern) and the first bright star you come to is Aldebaran.
The pulsating blue supergiant Rigel has a diameter of about 100 million kilometres, some seventy times that of the Sun. In the far distance a double blue star is visible - Rigel's much less luminous companions.
Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes, and the fourth brightest star in the night sky, with a visual magnitude of -0.05, after Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. It is the second brightest star visible from northern latitudes and the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. The star is in the Local Interstellar Cloud. An easy way to find Arcturus is to follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper.
Go out and look towards Orion. In the northern hemisphere, you will see two stars up and to the left of Orion about a couple of fists width away (in the southern hemisphere, they will be down and to the right). These are the stars Castor and Pollux. Castor is the more northern one, and Pollux is the brighter one (and if you look carefully, it has a slight orange hue to it). Castor and Pollux are the heads of the twins of the constellation Gemini.
Arrow (Sirius & probably other adjacent stars in Canis Major) Although closely associated with the constellation of the Bow, the Arrow is always treated separately in Babylonian tradition. The annual rising of the Arrow marked the summer solstice when the sun was at its maximum height above the horizon. The Arrow was probably chosen for this role as it is the man-made object that can reach highest into the heavens. Similarly, the bird on a high perch, which is often seen besides the Arrow in ancient artwork, can also be thought of as representing the sun at its highest station.
Assyrian star map from Nineveh (K 8538). Counterclockwise from bottom: Sirius (Arrow), Pegasus + Andromeda (Field + Plough), [Aries], the Pleiades, Gemini, Hydra + Corvus + Virgo, Libra. Drawing by L.W.King with corrections by J.Koch. Neue Untersuchungen zur Topographie des Babilonischen Fixsternhimmels (Wiesbaden 1989), p. 56ff.
Scientists have used a Nasa supercomputer to work out what our solar system would look like to alien astronomers searching for other planets.
New simulations have tracked the interactions of thousands of dust grains to how this view might have changed as our planetary system matured.
And astronomers hope that the new view could help them learn how to spot planets orbiting distant stars.