ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Sirius: The brightest star in the night sky

Sirius is one of the most famous known stars in the night sky. It lies in the constellation of Canis Major. It is designated as Alpha Canis Majoris, which means that it is the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major. Sirius is not only the brightest star in Canis Major, but it is also the brightest star you can find in the entire night sky. The name “Sirius” is derived from a Greek word that means “scorching” or “glowing”. Sirius is almost twice as bright as Canopus, which is the second brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is also nicknamed the “Dog Star”. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating star!

The constellation of Canis Major can be found just below the Orion constellation. Canis Major is easily visible during the fall season, once the sky darkens. Sirius can be found in the southeastern sky, below Orion. The 3 stars of Orion’s belt point to the star. Sirius can be seen from both of the hemispheres, except from latitudes north of 73 degrees north. You can also take the help of a Star map or you can use a planetarium app like Stellarium, Sky Tonight by Star Walk, SkyView, SkySafari, SkyPortal etc. to locate this star.

Sirius is almost 25 times more luminous than our Sun and is only 8.6 light-years away from us. Sirius will brighten over the next millennia. This is because the star is heading toward us. Sirius also has a companion white dwarf star known as Sirius B or the Pup. Being a white dwarf, Sirius B is smaller than Sirius A. Sirius B measures only 7,500 miles in diameter, which is slightly smaller than the size of our Earth. Both the stars revolve around each other and complete one orbit every 50 years. The Sirius system is also the 5th closest stellar system known.

This photo, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows Sirius along with its dim companion Sirius B (tiny bright dot at the lower left of Sirius A). (Image Credit: ESAHubble.org)
This picture is an artist’s impression of the star system of Sirius A and Sirius B. In the background, you can also see our Sun and the stars Deneb, Vega and Altair, the 3 stars which together form the asterism known as the Summer Triangle. (Image Credit: Hubblesite.org)

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Dhyanopaedia

Dhyanopaedia

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I am a young epistemophile aspiring to become a Space Scientist