Mira Looks at Mira
Under prominent stars of Taurus and the Pleiades star cluster (upper left) the very young observer is the daughter of TWAN photographer Tamas Ladanyi. He has named his daughter after the famous variable star Mira in the large but faint constellation of Cetus, the Whale. The telescope is pointed at the yellow-red Mira, shining at 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 in this part of 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.