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01/11/2019 – Ephemeris – The bright star in Orion’s knee: Rigel

January 11, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 11th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:55 this evening.

Yesterday I talked about the star Betelgeuse the bright red star in the top left of Orion’s upright rectangle. Orion is seen in the southeast at 9 in the evening. The blue-white star in Orion’s opposite corner is usually brighter. It is Rigel whose longer Arabic name of which Rigel is the first part means “Left Leg of the Giant”. Rigel is a giant itself, actually a super giant star, which is more a measure of its mass than its size, that of 23 solar masses. Its surface temperature is more than twice as hot as the sun. It is 120 thousand times as bright as the sun and 100 times its diameter. Its distance is around 860 light years. Those with telescopes might be able to spot a close companion star to Rigel, just at the edge of the bright arc light image of Rigel itself.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Orion's brightest stars

Orion’s brightest stars with their names for 9 p.m. January 7, 2019. Click on the image to make Orion a giant hunter. Created using Stellarium..

Rigel A & B

Rigel with its companion star as photographed through a telescope. No attribution. Source: http://washedoutastronomy.com/content/urban-orion?page=1

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