National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

February's star of the month: Menkib

 |  Eco Catholic

Fourth-magnitude star Menkib (Arabic for "shoulder") in the constellation Perseus is one of the hottest stars visible to the unaided eye and one of the most massive. Located about 1,600 light years away, this blue-white giant's visible light is believed to be over 13,000 times as bright as our Sun. The star is also six times hotter with a temperature of 37,000 Kelvin. It is thought that this luminous giant is about 40 solar masses in size. Interstellar dust may dim its brightness, but Menkib itself illuminates the large California Nebula, a star forming region located in Perseus. The young star is only a few million years old, is unstable and may someday explode. It is also one of the rare "runaway" stars of our galaxy, rapidly accelerating with its dim companion away from its birthplace in Perseus.

Menkib and the constellation Perseus are visible overhead on February nights in North America.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

07-04-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.