Top 100 Constellations (pg 2)


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21.  Deneb (in cygnus constellation)

A little more than hour after Vega has risen, a bright twinkling star appears in the north eastern horizon at point 45 degrees from the pole. It is called Deneb that rises about the same spot on the horizon as Capella. It stays for 20 hours in the sky only obscured by day light. The highest point a star ever reaches in its daily course is called its meridian. A line drawn from the Polaris to Deneb and to Vega forms a right angle triangle in which Deneb lies at right angle. Deneb lies in the constellation called Cygnus meaning the Swan, an easily identifiable figure of stretched wing flying swan in the sky. Deneb is the brightest star at the head of the figure also called Northern Cross. In the spring when it rises in the north east, the cross is upside down. At setting in the north west, it seems more nearly upright and Deneb at its head sets last of all in the cross. Deneb means "tail" for its position being in the tail section of the constellation. It is sometimes called by its Arabic name Arided meaning the "hindmost."
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22.  Altair

About 80 degrees from the pole towards south, halfway between Deneb and Vega, is the brilliantly bright star called Altair. It is 20 degrees directly south from Albireo at the base of the Northern Cross. Altair is seen in the constellation Aquila meaning the eagle. Altair is the middle of the three bright stars in a line. Altair means "the flying eagle." Altair, Vega and Deneb when joined together forms an acute angle triangle known as Summer Triangle, with its short side towards north. Altair at its apex is in the south.
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23.  Summer Triangle


Altair is in Aquila or the eagle constellation. Altair means the flying eagle.

A brilliantly white (yellowish white) star located by moving down the Cross from Deneb to its tail to Albireo and about 20 degrees more to the first bright star is ALTAIR. About 10 degrees northeast from Altair is the well known Constellation "Dolphinus," also called Job's coffin.
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24.  Delphinus

In the shape of a Dolphin, this constellation also called Job's Coffin consists of 5 stars. It contains a variable star, a double star and a spectroscopic binary star.

One seldom sees Altair during the first four months of the year. It takes about 13 hours for Altair to make its journey across the sky. Its color is white or yellowish white. Its surface temperature is less than Vega but greater than Capella. Altair is actually 11 times more luminous than sun and 17 ly away from us. Altair is approaching the earth at a speed of 16 miles per second.
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25.  Scorpius Constellation


Constellation Scorpius meaning scorpion that stung the Orion is where Antares can be found. It is considered the hissing snake from which Spenser represents Orion as "flying fast." The mighty hunter Orion does not return to the sky until scorpion is gone. The two Orion and Scorpion never appear together in the sky. The name Antares signifies "Rival of Mars." When the Mars appears in the constellation Scorpius, the two red colored objects are splendid rivals. Antares is a red giant. It is 400 ly away. It is an old star cooler than sun as the red color suggests. Most stars get their energy from fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium. After spending all its hydrogen fuel, the internal core tends to contract, star becomes hotter, for a brief period of its life it lives on secondary sources of energy. The outer layers then swell up and become very luminous. After thousands of years of this spendthrift activity, the secondary sources are exhausted. The star collapses on the inside and explode on the outside, becoming a Nova or a new star. Gravitational forces then attract the fragments back into smaller size feebly shining star of the type known as White Dwarfs, e.g., companion of Sirius.
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26.  Antares

Antares is at its highest point (meridian) in June 22nd at 10 O'clock in the evening. At its highest point, it is only one quarter way due south from the horizon to the zenith. It is one of the south stars which always lies south of the celestial equator. It appears farther south from Altair.

Antares is one of a binary system. Its companion has a greenish color, not easily seen by small telescopes.
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27.  Aldebaran


The stars described in Chapter 1 through Chapter 10 earlier, have a particular connection with the spring, summer and autumn months. Capella shines throughout the winter, and in spring and fall as well.

There are however 6 bright stars that are distinctly of the winter. These 6 stars are Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Regel, Pollux, Procyon and Sirius. Of these 6 stars, Aldebaran is the first to appear in September a bit north of the east point in the horizon. It glows with rosy light, demanding attention proclaiming as one of the most importantly heavenly bodies.
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28.  The Two Dog Stars(Sirius and Procyon
)

Moving down the belt of Orion, about 20 degrees south, you meet the brightest star called Sirius, also called the Great Dog Star. It is the chief star of the constellation Canis Major and hence the name. It follows the heels of Orion in its journey in the sky. The constellation names the season dog-days, for the sizzling hot summer days (July and August) in which its presence is made known. During this time, Sirius rises just after the sun in the southern sky. The name Sirius comes from the Greek word scorching (hot summer) or sparkling . Sometimes also called Orion's Dog, Sirius is referred to as brining miseries to men.
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29.  Regulus


Regulus appears above the horizon a bit north of the east about 9 O'clock in New Years day or about the Christmas time. It is the chief star of the eastern sky until Arcturus and Vega come into sight. It is a sparkling white star with a slight hint of blue in its color. It takes about 6 and three quarter of an hour to reach the meridian. It shines in January through April in early part of the night sky. It sinks completely in August being at the same place as the sun. It is 140 times brighter than sun and 77 ly away. It is found in the constellation Leo or the Lion. The blade of the sickle marks the shoulder of the lion while the Regulus lies at its heart, sometimes named as "heart of the lion." Regulus means "Chief." Sun stays in this constellation a bit more than 5 weeks starting at 2nd week of August. An interesting star in Leo, is the tail of the lion, called Denebola. Denebola points in the direction of another star and thus forms a double star.
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30.  The Pleiades

The Pleiades cluster (M45) is sometimes referred to as The Seven Sisters and appears in numerous ancient texts including the Book of Job "Can you bind the Chains of the Pleiades" Job 38:31. The Japanese call the Pleiades the Subaru and many people (incorrectly) call it the little dipper because it looks like a tiny version of the Dipper.The Pleiades is a beautiful example ofa young open cluster. We think that the Pleiades formed from a huge.



          


31.  Sirius 
The star of Isis, called Sothis, or Sirius, is the brightest star in our night sky. Modern astronomy has determined that it is only 8 1/2 light-years distant, and traveling directly towards Earth at many thousands of miles per hour. The Ancient Egyptians believed that Sirius had a tremendous effect upon life on our planet.

The system of Sirius contains two known stars, the first binary star system discovered. The larger and brighter of the two, Sirius A, is three times the mass of our sun, and over ten times as bright. Shining with a brilliant blue-white radiance, Sirius A easily overshadows her darker companion star. Sirius B is a "white dwarf" star, invisible to the naked eye and packing the equivalent mass of our sun into an incredibly dense globe only 4 times the diameter of our Earth.
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32.  Canopus

One person who did observe the importance of Canopus was Norman Lockyer, who popularised the idea that many ancient temples were designed with astronomical observations in mind. At least two of the great structures at Karnak, dated to 2100 and 1700 BC respectively, pointed to its setting; as did another at Naga, and the temple of Khons at Thebes, built by Rameses III about 1300 BC, afterwards restored and enlarged under the Ptolemies. Richard Hinckley Allen added: "It thus was the prominent object of the religion of Southern Egypt, where it represented the god of the waters." Therefore, Lockyer and Allen state that the Egyptians did think highly of Canopus, specifically in Southern Egypt. Furthermore, they state that the star was linked with the God of the Waters - Osiris in his form of Hapi, the Nile God - the Egyptian counterpart of Ea, or Enki. Perhaps it won't come as a surprise then to learn that Canopus is linked with the Sumerian town of Eridu, the first town of Enki. Enki, like Osiris, was the Lord of the Underworld, the Abyss.
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33.  Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is a star of the southern sky, and is not visible to observers at a latitude greater than about 25° north (roughly the latitude of Florida, Egypt or Taiwan). For those in the southern hemisphere, though, it is not hard to locate: it sits in the centre of the Milky Way, about fifteen degrees east of Crux. In fact, a line through the cross-piece of the Southern Cross (from Delta Crucis to Becrux) points the way to Alpha Centauri.
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34.  Arcturus

Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes, and the fourth brightest star in the night sky, with a visual magnitude of -0.05, after Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. It is the second brightest star visible from northern latitudes and the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. The star is in the Local Interstellar Cloud. An easy way to find Arcturus is to follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper. By continuing in this path, one can find Spica (Virginis) as well - leading to the coinage of the popular maxim, "Arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica."

It is a type K1.5 IIIpe red giant star - the letters "pe" stand for "peculiar emission," which indicates that the spectrum of light given off by the star is unusual and full of emission lines. This is not too uncommon in red giants, but Arcturus has a particularly strong case of the phenomenon. It is at least 110 times more luminous than the Sun, but this underestimates its strength as much of the "light" it gives off is in the infrared; total power output is about 180 times that of the Sun.
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35.  Vega


Vega is a famous star among amateur and professional astronomers. Located at only 25 light years from Earth in the Lyra constellation, it is the fifth brightest star in the sky. It has been used as a reference star for brightness comparisons. Vega is twice as massive as the Sun and has only one tenth its age. Because it is both bright and nearby, Vega has been often studied but it is still revealing new aspects when it is observed with more powerful instruments.


36.  Rigel

Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion, where it makes up Orion's "left foot". Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky. Its name derives from the Arabic Riǧl Ǧawza al-Yusra, which was condensed to Rigel. This means "Left Foot of the Central One". Instead of referring to Orion as "Orion", the Arabic world called this constellation "the Central One".

Rigel is a bluish-white supergiant star containing 17 solar masses of material, shining with a luminosity 40,000 times greater than our Sun. Being a supergiant, it is approximately 70 solar radii in diameter, or about a third of the distance from the Sun to Earth. Located between 700 and 900 light years from the Earth (astronomers don't know for sure), Rigel is the brightest star in our local area of the Milky Way. The next brightest star, Deneb, is a full 3,300 light years away. Rigel is closely aligned in the sky with the Orion Nebula, one of the only nebulae visible with the naked eye, although it is really twice the distance of Rigel from Earth.
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37.  Procyon

Procyon is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor. To the naked eye, it appears to be a single star, the seventh brightest in the night sky with a visual apparent magnitude of 0.34. It is actually a binary starsystem, consisting of a white main sequence star of spectral type F5 IV-V, named Procyon A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA, named Procyon B. The reason for its brightness is not its intrinsic luminosity but its closeness to the Sun; at a distance of 3.5pc or 11.41 light years, Procyon is one of our near neighbours. Its closest neighbour isLuyten's Star, 0.34 pc or 1.11 ly away.
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38.  Achernar


Achernar , brightest star in the constellation Eridanus ; Bayer designation α Eridani; 1992 position R.A. 1 h37.4 m , Dec. -57°16′. A bluish-white white star with apparent magnitude 0.51, it is one of the 10 brightest stars in the entire sky. Its distance is about 120 light-years, and its luminosity about 600 times that of the sun. Achernar is of spectral class B5 V. Its name is from the Arabic meaning "end of the river [Eridanus]."
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39.  Beta Centauri

Although little known to most stargazers in the northern hemisphere, Beta Centauri is the eleventh brightest star in the night. It's just 4.5 degrees west of Alpha Centauri, the Sun's nearest neighbor. Now astronomers have measured Beta Centauri's mass and distance.

Knowing a star's mass is crucial, because it dictates how fast a star evolves and how it dies. Beta Centauri's main star consists of two nearly identical blue giants that pulsate every few hours and orbit each other every 357 days. John Davis of the University of Sydney in Australia and his colleagues in Australia and Europe used interferometry and spectroscopy to establish that each blue giant has 9.1 solar masses.
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40.  Betelgeuse


Earth could be getting a second sun, at least temporarily.
Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, outlined the scenario to news.com.au. Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.When that happens, for at least a few weeks, we'd see a second sun, Carter says. There may also be no night during that timeframe.

The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says... or it could take longer. The explosion could also cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole 1300 light years from Earth, reports news.com.au., but doomsday sayers should be careful about speculation on this one. If the star does go super-nova, Earth will be showered with harmless particles, according to Carter. "They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.
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