Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy
All the Tens
This Babe Among the Stars edition will be on the theme of ten in honour of The Post's 10th birthday. I tried to find a galaxy merger shaped like a number ten for you, and Arp 147, from the Halton Arp catalogue of peculiar galaxies, was the closest I got. Taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, the Hubble official website titled it Hubble Scores a Perfect Ten.
Messier 10 is also designated NGC 6254. M10 is a globular star cluster approximately 14,000 light years distant in Ophiuchus 'the Serpent Bearer'. It has been measured at 6.6 magnitude, but it's getting dimmer because it is travelling away from us at the speed of 69 km/sec.
The ten closest stars from the Sun are:
- Proxima Centauri (a red dwarf)
- Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A) is a yellow dwarf
- Alpha Centauri B (an orange dwarf)
- Barnard's Star (a red dwarf)
- Wolf 359 (a red dwarf)
- Lalande 21185 (a red dwarf)
- Sirius (alpha Canis Majoris)
- Sirius B (a white dwarf)
- Luyten 726-8 A (BL Ceti) a red dwarf flare star
- Luyten 726-8 B (UV Ceti) a red dwarf flare star and also the prototype for UV Ceti-type flare stars
NGC 10 is a barred spiral galaxy, type SBbc, in the direction of southern constellation Sculptor. Type SBbc means that it has a central bar, and also that its arms are slack rather than tightly wound. The Milky Way belongs to this type.
IC 10 is a barred spiral galaxy, yet again type SBbc, this time in the northern constellation Cassiopeia.
The ten brightest stars which can be viewed from Earth (excluding the Sun) are:
- Sirius −1.4
- Canopus (alpha Carinae) −0.7
- Arcturus (alpha Boötis) −0.04 variable
- Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A) −0.01
- Vega (alpha Lyrae) 0.03
- Capella (alpha Aurigae) 0.08
- Rigel (beta Orionis) 0.1
- Procyon (alpha Canis Minoris) 0.3
- Achernar (alpha Eridani) 0.5
- Betelgeuse (alpha Orionis) 0.6 to 0.4 variable
The Caldwell Catalogue was put together by Sir Patrick Moore as a test for amateur (backyard) astronomers. He chose NGC 663 as Caldwell 10 — it is an open cluster of stars of about magnitude 7, in the constellation Cassiopeia.
I did think about choosing a top ten of my favourite celestial objects but I think such lists are highly personal and wouldn't appeal to all. So after thinking about what I could post a top ten of for about ten seconds, I realised that my desktop wallpaper most frequently displays the latest view or artist conception of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. So here we are, in no particular order, ten of the best (IMHO) views of the Milky Way. Can you guess which image is my particular favourite?
- View from Chile
- Artist illustration of the Barred Spiral Milky Way
- The plane of the Milky Way in the southern constellation of Crux
- All Sky Panorama
- Arm over the Badlands (you will probably have to scroll to the right to get the full view)
- A meteor shoots across the spiral arm
- Mauna Kea Milky Way Panorama (you will definitely have to scroll to see all of this)
- Milky Way and reflection
- Close Encounter in Wyoming
- Spectacular view from a cave in Utah
Chat about your celestial observances at the H2G2 Astronomy Society. Comment on anything in this edition of Babe Among the Stars by starting a new conversation below.