Anchoring Starlight 1

Anchoring Starlight: Aldebaran

Aldebaran Field

Aldebaran is a big, ancient star, far larger than the Sun (see the image for a comparison of their sizes) and the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. At about 65 light years away it’s a comparatively close neighbour. Within the constellation of Taurus it appears as part of an open star cluster, the Hyades, but it’s actually much closer. It lies near the path followed by the Sun and the Moon as they cross the sky and is regularly occluded by the Moon as it passes in front of it. Aldebaran’s luminosity is considerably higher than that of the Sun, about 425 times as bright, while its surface temperature is a little less than the Sun’s. Over the next few million years it is expected that it will grow brighter yet.

Anchoring Starlight: Alcyone

SJ01-Alcyone1-Download-EstoreAlcyone is a brilliant star, emitting a thousand time the light of our Sun. Early arabic astronomers gave it names meaning Central One, Bright One and Walnut. For Indians it was Arundhati, wife of Vashishtha or Brahma who with their six sons are the seven rishis who make up the seven stars of the Plough.  The name Alcyone was thought by the ancient Greeks be connected with Halcyon, the kingfisher.  In one of their myths Alcyone lost her husband in a storm at sea and the gods, taking pity on them both, changed them into kingfishers.  Ever since there have been seven days of calm, the halcyon days, around the winter solstice.

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