The 10 Brightest Stars in the Night Sky

top ten brightest stars

Many people think that the Polaris, aka “the North Star,” is the brightest star in the sky.  Actually, Polaris is about the 47th brightest star in the nighttime sky.  So, you may ask, what exactly are the brightest stars?  Here is the list of the top 10 brightest stars you can see in our nighttime sky.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter part 4: Hermione and Ginny

the astronomical world of harry potter

Last year, we had a series of three blogs dealing with the astronomical world of Harry Potter.  Not only did we looked at how some of the characters in the Harry Potter series got their names from the Roman, Greek, & Norse mythologies, but how those mythologies played into the develop of their respective characters.  If you missed it, we covered Draco, Luna, Dumbledore, Fenrir, Sirius and Bellatrix.

So, what about two of Harry Potter’s most trusted friends: Hermione and Ginny?

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Ninth Planet May Exist

 

21PLANET-master1050-v2

An artist’s impression of a possible ninth planet. It would be quite large — at least as big as Earth — with a thick atmosphere around a rocky core. CreditCalifornia Institute of Techonology

 

 Caltech scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown make the case for Planet Nine, a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system.

The Most Violently Explosive Supernova so Far Detected

sn-supernova_3

Supernovae are some of the brightest events that happen in space.  However, in recent decades scientists have discovered a rare new class of blasts known as superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), or “hypernovae” to some.  The new discovery was spotted last June by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN).  At its peak, the new supernova known as ASAS-SN-15lh outshone our entire Milky Way galaxy by 50 times.

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Cosmic Highlights of 2016

cosmic hightlights of 2016

Now that 2015 has come and gone we can look back on some of the more notable astronomical events: March brought the total eclipse of the sun that could be viewed in the North Atlantic, and in April there was the total eclipse of the moon which could be viewed primarily on the Pacific edge of US and Canada.  Well, 2016 is here and the folks at Universe2Go have provided a nice infographic for all the upcoming astronomical events that you should be keeping an eye on.

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Here Comes Comet Catalina

comet catalina

Who remembers Comet ISON?  It was the comet that was obliterated by the sun back in December 2013.  Before its solar demise, the media reported that as ISON passed us by it would become brighter than the moon; however, the comet was too dim to be seen by the naked eye.  So, it is with some hesitation that we tell you about Comet Catalina.  This comet will be visible in the Northern hemisphere as a pre-dawn object in late November and should get brighter and easier to find through the month of December.  It is expected to be seen by the naked eye at dark sky sites, but will be a tough object to glimpse from most suburbs and cities.  That being said, it is one comet we can guarantee that inexperienced observers can view with a pair of binoculars.

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NASA releases Ultra-HD video of the Sun

the sun in hd

It is always shining, constantly alight and blazing with energy. The Earth is awash in an endless tide of its particles.  The Sun’s energy and light drives our weather, biology and more. But in space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) keeps an eye on our nearest star 24/7. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. In this recently released video we experience images of the Sun in unprecedented detail captured by SDO. Presented in ultra-high definition video (4K) the video presents the nuclear fire of our life-giving star in intimate detail, offering new perspective into our own relationships with grand forces of the solar system.

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Why A Mysterious Dimming Star Doesn’t Mean Aliens

Dyson

For the past several days there has been a lot of talk about this mysterious star located some 1,480 light-years away called KIC 8462852, located in the constellation Cygnus .  This star appears to be flickering at irregular intervals.  Some have gone so far as to hypothesize that the dimming is a sign of an advanced alien presence, suggesting the possible presence of advanced satellite orbits or a Dyson sphere.  This has been a hot news story in the reaches of astronomy.  But I waited to post anything about it, choosing not to jump on the train of speculation until further news came in.

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