Tuesday, 3 July 2012

La Superba

Recently I've become obsessed with a star.

This is just as unhealthy as being obsessed with a woman, and likewise takes place mainly at night, after the pubs have shut. But ever since I read about it - and to be honest for some reason this star has not shown up on my radar until very recently, La Superba has become a nightly target for my atronomical observations.

It is a rare C-J spectral class Carbon star in the constellation of Canes Venatici, The Hunting Dogs, that sits beneath the Great Bears Tail not doing a whole lot apart from being faint.


It is said to be the reddest star in the sky, and in my town sky site, rum and coke to hand to keep the cold out, it's a tricky one to find! But find it I have, I think, roughly halfway between Cor Caroli and Megrez.

But it doesn't look very red to me! It looks pink in my 10x50s, I was so gutted! Mu Cepheii, the famous Garnet Star in Cepheus, is far redder, a real bloody ruby of a star. I keep looking at it, and it still looks pink.

Now a pink star is rare enough! But it is not quite what I was hoping for. My explanations are...

1) I'm looking at the wrong star - very possible, knowing me, but it is not a part of the sky rich in stars, I'm pretty sure I've been looking at it.

2) At the moment it's too faint for me to make out much colour in my 10x50s.

3) It's lowish at the moment and the haze and light pollution is ruining the colour.

Any ideas, I'll take them! But to see a star the colour of real blood, not child's wax crayon blood, is something I want to see.

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