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View from a Scope | July 25, 2021

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Curious Capella

Curious Capella

I went out this evening with my main goal being to get some good observing done on the moon, However due to some freaky weather clouds seemed to surround the moon all evening long, This did however allow me to explore other areas and one star in particular caught my eye.


You can find Capella in the East / South Eastern sky around 21:00. If you draw a line between Jupiter and Pleiades, then complete a triangle by drawing a line to the next brightest object that will be Capella. (Jupiter will be the brightest point in the eastern sky and the Pleiades is an open cluster of stars of which you can make out 6 / 7 with the naked eye)


This is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga and the third brightest in the Northern sky after Arcturus and Vega.

The cool thing about Capella is that it is not a single star, its not even a binary star system, it is a dual binary star system. This is two sets of binary stars orbiting each other. Luke Skywalker would be happy.



The first pair consists of two type-G stars about 10 times the diameter of the Sun. These two stars are thought to be cooling and on their way to becoming red giants.

The second pair is around 10,000 astronomical unit (1 Astronomical unit is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun) from the first pair and consist of two faint, small and relatively cool red dwarfs.

This system is fairly close to Earth at 42.2 light years.

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