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Night Sky Sights

In Search of Ancient Suns

We track down and admire five of the most ancient stars in the universe.

Alnilam in Orion

Bright Stars

Meet Alnilam, Orion’s Belt Buckle

Alnilam, the middle star of Orion's distinctive belt, is a distant supergiant that will (eventually) end its life in a supernova.

Castor and Pollux

Night Sky Sights

Meet Castor, Six Stars in One

Castor, a prime ornament of the Gemini constellation and one of the brightest stars in the sky, is actually a system of stars with six unique members.

Kochab in the Little Dipper

Night Sky Sights

Meet Kochab, a Guardian of the Pole

Meet the stars: Kochab is no record-breaking bright star, but it's easy enough to find — and it may have played an important role through history.

Sirius and M41

Celestial Objects to Observe

Tour 15 of the Brightest Stars on New Year's Eve (VIDEO)

Tour 15 of the sky's brightest stars all in one night on this New Year's Eve! This interactive Worldwide Telescope video will show you the way.

Aldebaran vs. the Sun

Bright Stars

Meet Aldebaran, the Bull’s Eye

Learn more about Aldebaran, the red-orange giant star that "follows" the Pleiades across the sky.

Capella and the Kids

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Capella, the Goat Star

Capella is the sixth-brightest star in the sky — and it's more than one star! The main two stars in the system are near-twins, bright yellow giants.

Bootes and the Big Dipper

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Arcturus: Guardian of the Bear

Arcturus is one of the brightest stars in the sky — a cool red giant in Bootes, the Herdsman, that's often tied mythologically to Ursa Major, the Bear.

Antares, imaged

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Antares: The Star That Is Not Mars

Antares is a red supergiant that — like Betelgeuse — will one day go supernova.

Big Dipper, stars labeled

Bright Stars

Meet Dubhe, Giant of the Big Dipper

Of the seven stars in the Big Dipper, Dubhe is an outlier. Its color, speed across the sky, and evolutionary age set it apart from its comrades.

Pleiades

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters

The Pleiades are actually a star cluster of thousands of stars enshrouded in dust and gas, and they're easy to find if you know where to look.

Altair skyscape

Night Sky Sights

Meet Altair, the Eagle’s Eye

Altair, centerpiece of Aqulia, the Eagle, is the twelfth-brightest star in the night sky and one of the closest stars to Earth.

Bright Stars

Meet Barnard’s Star, Our Red Dwarf Neighbor

This faint red dwarf star is famous not because it's bright but because it's fast-moving — you can actually see it moving across the sky if you track it over several years.

Canopus

Night Sky Sights

Meet Canopus, the Second Brightest Star

The second-brightest star after Sirius, Canopus is visible in southern skies, shining out of the constellation Carina.

Spica and Corvus

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Spica, the Ear of Grain

Meet Spica, the "ear of grain" in the constellation Virgo. This bright star is actually part of a binary orbiting so closely, they tug each other out of spherical shapes and whirl around each other every four days.

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Vega, the Jewel of the Lyre

Meet Vega, the fifth-brightest star in the night sky and the most brilliant star in the constellation Lyra. Vega is in the prime of its life on the main sequence, but it's notable for its speedy spin and infrared-radiating debris disk.

Fomalhaut

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Fomalhaut, the Autumn Star

The bright star Fomalhaut, home to three suns plus a planet, peeks over the southern horizon in early autumn evenings in the Northern Hemisphere.

Picture of Rigel and IC 2118

Bright Stars

Meet Rigel, Orion's Blue Suede Shoe

The seventh brightest star in the sky, blue-white Rigel shines brilliantly at the left foot of Orion and is actually a trio: a supergiant orbited by a pair of Sun-like stars.

Night Sky Sights

Meet Deneb, the Bright but Distant Star

Deneb, in the constellation Cygnus, is a star that shines brilliantly despite being one of the farthest you can see with the unaided eye.

Photo of Gemini with Pollux and Castor and Canis Minor with Procyon

Night Sky Sights

Meet Pollux, the Red Giant with a Planet

Meet the stars: Pollux, one of the Twins in the sky, is a star that has swelled into its red giant phase while holding onto its Jupiter-like exoplanet, dubbed Thestias.

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