The First Star I See Tonight!

Does it seem like there are a lot of faint stars when you look up at the sky? One reason this is true is because bright stars don't last very long. Usually a white dwarf star is one that has used up all its fuel. If this star is “running out of gas,” how could it possibly become a nova that lights up the sky like fireworks and then go dim again? This happens because a nova has a companion star that pours its gas around the white dwarf until the surface of the dwarf star is burning again. Once the fuel is gone, so is the light. This second life can happen only once or it might happen many times, so keep an eye on the sky to see if you spot one! Would you think that a nova could be the brightest star in the sky? Many of the brightest stars are found in the constellations of the zodiac. Castor and Pollux are the two bright stars found in the well-known constellation of the Gemini twins. Another bright star is Aldebaran, which seems to form the eye of Taurus the bull. See if you can find Regulus, the bright star located at the base of Leo the lion's tail. There are several bright stars in the super bright constellation called Pleiades that are also known as the seven sisters. They would all be good places to look for the brightest star near us, but we don't have to travel very far or consult a star map in your newspaper to find the winner. If you guessed the brighteststar close to Earth is the sun, you're right. Most people forget that the sun is a star. From here, the sun is very bright, but if you wanted to look at the sun from another galaxy, you would need a very strong telescope to see it!See how many people you can fool when you ask them the question, “Do stars only come out at night?” If they say, “Yes,” ask them, “What about the sun?”

FUN FACT

Second Look

Beginning astronomers occasionally think they have found twin stars, until they look at them through a larger telescope, only to find the second star is not even close to the other star!

JUST for FUN

What's Your Sign?

Do you know what your sign is according to the dates in astrology? If you are born near the beginning of the year, you may be an Aquarius or a Capricorn. If you were born in the summer you may fall under the sign of Cancer or Gemini. There are twelve signs in the zodiac all based on constellations.

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