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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
Hubble Space Telescope image of the cool red giant star Mira in the ultraviolet.
Click on image for star map
M. Karovska (Center for Astrophysics) and NASA

Mira - Flickering Red Giant

What's in a Name: Latin for Wonderful
Claim to Fame: Humans have been watching this star with interest for over 300 years. It changes its luminosity over a 332 day period by both shrinking and cooling. At its maximum it is a breathtaking deep red star and the brightest star in the constellation Cetus. But for 5 months it cannot even be seen with the unaided eye.
Type of Star: Red Giant (M7 IIIe Spectral Class)
How Far Away: 220 light years away
How Big: 300 times the sun's diameter. Would fill the orbit of Mars.
How Bright: 3-500 times the sun's luminosity
Where to View: Located in constellation of Cetus the Whale (Star Map).
When to View: Can only see it when the star is at its maximum brightness in its cycle. Best time to view Cetus is October through January

Last modified January 11, 2006 by Travis Metcalfe.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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