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Stellar Neophyte

Winter Hexagon Star Color Comparison

28 Jan 2016, 12:29 UTC
Winter Hexagon Star Color Comparison
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The Winter Hexagon or Winter Circle is an asterism (not an official constellation) that takes up a huge portion of the southern sky in winter with some of the brightest stars (including the brightest Sirius). You really can't miss it! As the hexagon moves across the sky through the season, it becomes the Spring Arch setting in the west at dusk.Did you know the human eye can detect the temperature of stars? Amazing! We know that cool stars radiate and emit energy in the red and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and so they appear red or orange. Likewise, hot stars appear white or blue because they radiate their energy in the blue and ultra-violet wavelengths.Using the same technique from a previous color comparison, I wanated to look at the entire Winter Hexagon. I also used the same exposure settings to keep everything constant, so the difference in brightness is also relative to the star's perceived brightness to us (Sirius is clearly the brightest). This makes it a little harder to determine color, because some of the stars are dimmer, but it's clear at least that there is a variety of color out there in this popular region of ...

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