The starry sky has always attracted people. Even being at a low level of development, dressing in animal skins and using stone tools, a person already raised his head and examined the mysterious points that shimmered mysteriously in the depths of the vast sky.
The stars have become one of the foundations of human mythology. According to ancient people, it was there that the gods lived. The stars have always been something sacred for a person, unattainable for an ordinary mortal. One of the most ancient sciences of mankind was astrology, which studied the influence of heavenly bodies on human life.
Today, the stars remain the focus of our attention, but it is true that astronomers study them more, and science fiction writers invent stories about the time when a person will be able to reach the stars. An ordinary person often raises his head to admire the beautiful stars in the night sky, just like his distant ancestors did millions of years ago. We have compiled a list for you that includes the brightest stars in the sky.
In tenth place on our list is Betelgeuse, astronomers call it α Orionis. This star is a great mystery to astronomers: they are still arguing about its origin and cannot understand its periodic variability.
This star belongs to the class of red giants and its size is 500-800 times the size of our Sun. If we were to move it into our system, then its boundaries would extend to the orbit of Jupiter. Over the past 15 years, the size of this star has decreased by 15%. Scientists still do not understand the reason for this phenomenon.
Betelgeuse is located at a distance of 570 light-years from the Sun, so a trip to it will definitely not take place in the near future.
9. Achernar or α Eridani
The first star in this constellation, it ranks ninth on our list. the brightest stars in the night sky. Achernar is located at the very end of the constellation Eridani. This star is classified as a class of blue stars, it is eight times heavier than our Sun and exceeds it in brightness by a thousand times.
Achernar is 144 light-years from our solar system, and travel to it in the near future also looks unlikely. Another interesting feature of this star is that it rotates around its axis with great speed.
8. Procyon or α of the Little Dog
This star is the eighth by its brightness in our firmament. The name of this star is translated from Greek as “before the dog.” Procyon enters the winter triangle, along with the stars Sirius and Betelgeuse.
This star is a binary star. In the sky, we can see the larger star of the pair, the second star is a small white dwarf.
There is a legend associated with this star. The constellation Canis Minor symbolizes the dog of the first winemaker, Ikaria, who was killed by treacherous shepherds, after having drunk his own wine beforehand. The faithful dog found the owner’s grave.
7. Rigel or β Orionis
This star is seventh brightest in our sky. The main reason for the rather low place in our ranking is the very large distance between the Earth and this star. If Rigel were a little closer (at the distance of Sirius, for example), then in its brightness it would surpass many other luminaries.
Rigel belongs to the class of blue-white supergiants. The size of this star is impressive: it is 74 times larger than our Sun. In fact, Rigel is not one star, but three: in addition to the giant, this stellar company includes two more small stars.
Rigel is located at a distance of 870 light years from the Sun, which is a lot.
Translated from Arabic, the name of this star means “leg”. People have known this star for a very long time, it was included in the mythology of many peoples, starting with the ancient Egyptians. They considered Rigel to be the incarnation of Osiris, one of the most powerful gods in their pantheon.
6. Chapel or α Aurigae
One of the most beautiful stars in our sky. This is a double star, which in ancient times was an independent constellation and symbolized a goat with kids. Capella is a double star that consists of two yellow giants that revolve around a common center. Each of these stars is 2,5 times heavier than our Sun and they are located at a distance of 42 light years from our planetary system. These stars are much brighter than our sun.
An ancient Greek legend is associated with the Chapel, according to which Zeus was fed by the goat Amalthea. One day, Zeus carelessly broke off one of the animal’s horns, and so a cornucopia appeared in the world.
5. Vega or α Lyra
One of the brightest and most beautiful stars in our sky. It is located at a distance of 25 light years from our Sun (which is a fairly small distance). Vega belongs to the constellation Lyra, the size of this star is almost three times the size of our Sun.
This star rotates around its axis at breakneck speed.
Vega can be called one of the most studied stars. It is located at a short distance and is very convenient for research.
Many myths of different peoples of our planet are associated with this star. In our latitudes, Vega is one of the brightest stars in the sky and second only to Sirius and Arcturus.
4. Arcturus or α Bootes
One of the brightest and most beautiful stars in the skywhich can be observed anywhere in the world. The reasons for this brightness is the large size of the star and the small distance from it to our planet.
Arcturus belongs to the class of red giants and has a huge size. The distance from our solar system to this star is “only” 36,7 light years. It is more than 25 times larger than our star. At the same time, the brightness of Arcturus is 110 times higher than the Sun.
This star owes its name to the constellation Ursa Major. Translated from Greek, its name means “guardian of the bear.” Arcturus is very easy in the starry sky, you just need to draw an imaginary arc through the handle of the Big Dipper bucket.
3. Toliman or α Centauri
In second place on our list is a triple star, which belongs to the constellation Centaurus. This star system consists of three stars: two of them are close in size to our Sun and the third star, which is a red dwarf called Proxima Centauri.
Astronomers call the double star that we can see with the naked eye Toliban. These stars are very close to our planetary system, and therefore seem very bright to us. In fact, their brightness and size are quite modest. The distance from the Sun to these stars is only 4,36 light years. By astronomical standards, it’s almost there. Proxima Centauri was discovered only in 1915, it behaves rather strangely, its brightness changes periodically.
2. Canopus or α Carinae
This is the second brightest star in our sky. But, unfortunately, we will not be able to see it, because Canopus is visible only in the southern hemisphere of our planet. In the northern part, it is visible only in tropical latitudes.
This is the brightest star in the southern hemisphere, in addition, it performs the same role in navigation as the North Star in the northern hemisphere.
Canopus is a huge star, which is eight times larger than our luminary. This star belongs to the class of supergiants, and it is in second place in terms of brightness only because the distance to it is very large. The distance from the Sun to Canopus is about 319 light years. Canopus is the brightest star within a radius of 700 light years.
There is no consensus on the origin of the name of the star. Most likely, it got its name in honor of the helmsman who was on the ship of Menelaus (this is a character in the Greek epic about the Trojan War).
1. Sirius or α Canis Major
The brightest star in our sky, which belongs to the constellation Canis Major. This star can be called the most important for earthlings, of course, after our Sun. Since ancient times, people have been very reverent and respectful of this luminary. There are numerous myths and legends about him. The ancient Egyptians placed their gods on Sirius. This star can be observed from anywhere on the earth’s surface.
The ancient Sumerians watched Sirius and believed that it was on it that the gods who created life on our planet are located. The Egyptians watched this star very carefully, it was associated with their religious cults of Osiris and Isis. In addition, according to Sirius, they determined the time of the Nile flood, which was important for agriculture.
If we talk about Sirius from the point of view of astronomy, then it should be noted that this is a double star, which consists of a star of spectral class A1 and a white dwarf (Sirius B). You cannot see the second star with the naked eye. Both stars revolve around a single center with a period of 50 years. Sirius A is about twice the size of our Sun.
Sirius is 8,6 light years away from us.
The ancient Greeks believed that Sirius was the dog of the star hunter Orion, who pursued his prey. There is an African Dogon tribe that worships Sirius. But that’s not surprising. Africans, who did not know writing, had information about the existence of Sirius B, which was discovered only in the middle of the XNUMXth century with the help of fairly advanced telescopes. The Dogon calendar is based on the periods of rotation of Sirius B around Sirius A. And it is compiled quite accurately. How a primitive African tribe got all this information is a mystery.