Orion boasts a fine collection of bright stars, including the bluish-white beacon to the lower right of his three belt stars. Rigel, meaning “left foot”, is classified as a blue supergiant, estimated to be 860 light years, and emitting approximately 200 thousand times more light than the Sun.

Today marks the anniversary of the discovery of Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh was examining pictures taken through the telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona in January, 1930, over a period of days. One of the “stars” in the image moved while the stars remained in place, revealing the frozen world for the first time.

At 7:10 this evening, looking straight up, a bright star marks the zenith, very top of the sky. Capella is the fourth brightest star we can see, though it is past its prime. Astronomers estimate it was the brightest star in the sky some 200,000 years ago.