The Winter Triangle

Feb 11, 2020

 

Credit Celestron Sky Portal App

In the past I have talked about the Summer Triangle consisting of three bright stars in the summer sky namely, Deneb, Altair, and Vega. Did you know that there is also a Winter Triangle formed by the three stars, Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon?

Each of these bright stars belongs to a different constellation. Sirius the brightest of all stars in the night sky belongs to the constellation Canis Major the Great Dog. Betelgeuse which has been dimming lately to historic lows is in the constellation Orion the Hunter. Procyon the third star forming the triangle belongs to Canis Minor the Little Dog.

Because Betelgeuse has been dimming lately, the triangle is not as obvious as in the past. Betelgeuse has fallen from the 10th brightest star in the sky to the 22nd. If it turns into a supernova, as some think it might, it will become by far the brightest star in the sky.

Sirius is currently the brightest star in the sky and is one of the closest at nearly 8.6 light years. It has a dim white dwarf companion that causes it to wobble slightly as it moves slowly across the sky.

Finally Procyon the eighth brightest star in the sky also has a small white dwarf companion that has a diameter of about 10,600 miles, which is not much larger than our earth.

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