Stars appear above the local light pollution in the Brittany of France; from Capella at the upper left to Aldebaran in the Middle (with Pleiades star cluster stands above it), and bright planet Jupiter at the upper right. Move the slider on the image to see labels and guidelines and the you find the large but faint constellation of Cetus, the Whale. A yellow-red star marked as Mira is a famous variable star Mira, captured during its brightest. Over the course of a year Mira or Omicron Ceti can change from dim magnitude 9 (invisible to human eye) to one of the brighter stars on the sky (magnitude 3). Although similar in mass to our Sun, Mira tenuous and cool atmosphere could extend out past the orbit of Mars, and achieve a luminosity over 10,000 times greater than our Sun. Mira is near the end of its life and its variability is somewhat erratic.



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