I had a three mile walk scheduled for tonight so I took it around our subdivision. It was a very clear sky tonight and this was really nice after days of rain, fog, and lighting. What stood out more than anything was the amount of stars I could see in the sky. I have always loved astronomy. There was always an interest there but I wished I knew more about what I was looking at – well they just happen to have an app for that – Star Walk - and I just recently purchased it.
Got back to house, went inside, grabbed & powered up my iPad, launched the Star Walk app, saw and identified a bunch of stars:
Capella – 42.8 light-years away - Brightest star in the constellation Auriga, 11th brightest star in the night sky and the 3rd brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere. Although it appears to be a single star to the naked eye, it is actually a four star system, two of which have a radius about 10 times our Sun.
And to the right and down a bit was:
Betelgeuse – 640 light-years away!!! – size: 950 times our Sun - the 9th brightest star in the night sky, part of the Orion constellation. Betelgeuse is only a few million years old, but has evolved rapidly because of its high mass. Due to its age, Betelgeuse may go supernova within the next millennium (because it is hundreds of light years away, it possibly may have done so already! )
And to the right and down a bit from there was:
Sirius – 8.6 light-years away – is the brightest star in the night sky. The name “Sirius” is derived from the Ancient Greek Seirios (“scorcher”), possibly because the star’s appearance was associated with summer.
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What a great app - Star Walk. If you have an iPad or iPhone and even a slight interest in the stars in the sky, this app is well worth $4.99!