I’m always hesitant to detail single stars when folk are frantically seeking out fuzzy patches or vast clusters. However these stars have fascination that they are worth finding. Some show the gorgeous colour of enormous dying carbon stars, others just stun the eye with their history,
The “Methuselah star”, the oldest star we can observe. It’s on its own in Libra. It’s quite a thrill to look at Star born soon after the Big Bang. I returned to it several times in absolute wonder. We’re looking at 14.5 billion years old. It sits very much alone in the field of view. It’s metal poor showing it’s only a second generation star . It’s +7.2 at
RA 15h43m3s. DEC -10 56’0″.
” Herschel’s Garnet Star”, Mu Cephei ( Erakis) At the base of Cepheus and visible by eye. It’s a deep orange red in small apertures. Made more lovely if you defocus and get a larger circle of colour. It’s 1420 times the size of the Sun and 38,000 times brighter. It would reach out between the orbit of Jupiter and Saturn. It’s a variable from +3.6 to +5 over 2-2.5 years.
SAO 033693. RA 21h44m02s. DEC +58 51’31.4″.
“Hind’s Crimson Star” ,R Leporis,a winter showpiece in Lepus beneath Orion. It’s deep red colour gives it the name “Vampire Star” in the USA. Set low in the sky with the right conditions it has looked like a drop of blood. It’s a long term variable with a period of 427-432 days from +5.5 to +11.7. It’s one of the nearest carbon stars at 11,000 light years distance. It’s huge star between 480-535 times the radius of the Sun, it would extend to Jupiter’s orbit.
SAO 150058. RA 05h00m22s. DEC -14 47’04”.
“La Superba” , Y Canum venaticorum, in the Hunting Dogs, a very beautiful red tester star. It’s variable from +4.8 to +7.3 over 160 days. It’s 2.2AU across and would fill the orbit of Mars.
SAO 044317. RA 12h45m07s. DEC +45 26’25”.
Cor Caroli, “King Charles’ heart. ” really beautiful binary at the bottom end of the Hunting Dogs. It’s a wide 19.0″ split at +2.8 to +5.5.Named in honour of Charles II. It’s 83 times brighter than the sun.
RA 12h56m47s. DEC +38 13’30”.
“Piazzi’s Flying star” at the top of Cygnus. A binocular fast moving pair. They always make me smile as I expect them to fly off a trapeze. The pair are 31.7″ apart, at 11.4 light years away , they orbit at twice that of Pluto from the Sun. This orbit is very elliptical. It was the first star to have its distance measured. It’s a very fast mover at 108km/sec, five times that of the Sun. Thus is fast proper motion in the galaxy.
SAO 070919. RA 21h07m35s. DEC +38 48’41”.
V640 in Monoceros is a huge binary star. It’s a hundred times the mass of the sun.
RA 06h37m24s. DEC +06 08’07”.
“The Blaze Star” TCrB. A recurring nova caused by matter accumulating from a red giant onto a red dwarf. Leading to a thermo nuclear explosion.
SAO 084129. RA 16h00m12.1s. +25 53’32”.
Mira (omicron Ceti), the brightest in the class of pulsating binary 02variables.
SAO 173353. RA 02h20m11s. -02 54′.1
The Winter Albireo.
Two contenders here, see what you think of,
Iota Cancri. At 30.7″ separation.
RA 08h46.7m +28 46′.
h3945 in Canis Major at 26.8″ separation. The most wonderfully coloured binary . Very much overlooked.
SAO 173349 RA 7h16m36s. -23 18’56”.
Tegmine.(“shell of the crab”) Zeta Cancri.
Beautiful binary complex. Zeta 1 splits at 1″ , widening to 2020 The pair are 5″ from Zeta2. This has at least one red dwarf companion at .3″. Zeta 1 is a challenge. At one star party , novices picked it out whilst some very experienced observes couldn’t. SAO 097645. 08h13.1m +17 35.7″.
Clear skies !