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
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
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.
You might also be interested in:
In the 1960's, the United States launched a series of satellites to look for very high energy photons, called Gamma Rays, that are produced whenever a nuclear bomb explodes. These satellites soon detected...more
The introduction of telescopes to the study of astronomy opened up the universe, but it took some time for astronomers to realize how vast the universe could be. Telescopes revealed that our night sky...more
Neutron Stars are the end point of a massive star's life. When a really massive star runs out of nuclear fuel in its core the core begins to collapse under gravity. When the core collapses the entire star...more
Spiral galaxies may remind you of pinwheels turning slowly as though in some intergalactic breeze. They are rotating disks of gas, dust and stars. Through a telescope or binoculars, the bright nucleus...more
White Dwarfs are the remnants of stars that were massive enough to stay alive using nuclear fusion in their cores, but not massive enough to blow apart in a Type II supernova. When stars like our own sun...more
What's in a Name: Arabic for "head of the demon" Claim to Fame: Represents Medusa's eye in Perseus. A special variable star that "winks" every 3 days. Type of Star: Blue-white Main Sequence Star, and...more
What's in a Name: Nicknamed the "Pup" because it is the companion to Sirius, "the Dog Star" Claim to Fame: Highly compressed white dwarf remnant. Density about 50,000 times that of water. It has approximately...more