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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Looking Up: See lovely Fomalhaut

  • This coming week in about mid-evening, face due south. Hopefully it is clear out. The bright star Fomalhaut will be on or near the Central Meridian- the imaginary line from the due south point passing overhead and down to the due north point.
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  •  This coming week in about mid-evening, face due south. Hopefully it is clear out. The bright star Fomalhaut will be on or near the Central Meridian- the imaginary line from the due south point passing overhead and down to the due north point.
          In the north, the star Polaris, the North Star, is always very close if not right on the Central Meridian. That’s because the whole sky seems to rotate around a point right next to the North Star, so it is practically stationary on the Celestial Dome above us.
          Fomalhaut is a bluish star, magnitude 1.3. Among the brightest stars, it seems especially bright because it contrasts with the otherwise rather dim field of stars in this part of the heavens. It is also called Alpha Pisces Austrini, the brightest star in the constellation Pisces Austrinus, the Southern Fish. The outline of this constellation usually places Fomalhaut as the fish’s eye.
         Th star is about 25 light years away; starlight you see tonight left Fomalhaut in 1988.
         In 2008, Fomalhaut became the first star with a planet that was actually photographed. Seen as a speck of light by the Hubble Space Telescope, the planet appears between rings of dust encircling the star. The planet is estimated to take 2,000 years to circle Fomalhaut, in a wide ellipse.
          In addition to the dust rings and planet(s), Fonalhaut has recently been determined to have two faint stellar companions in what is the most spread apart triple star system known. The third star, which was previously known, was found to be gravitationally bound to Fomalhaut. It is so far from the main star that as seen from Earth, they are separated by 5.5 degrees- just over the span between the "front" stars of the bowl of the Big Dipper.
           Above, or north of Fomalhaut is the “water jug” of the constellation Aquarius.
         Last quarter Moon is on October 26. Look west in evening twilight for the bright planet Venus.
         Please send your notes to news@neagle,com.
    Keep looking up!
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