Mira Ceti Brightens to 1.7 Magniude
Feb 17, 2007

Nick Anthony Fiorenza

Copyright © 2007 Nick Anthony Fiorenza, All Rights Reserved

Mira Cetus, the Breathing Neck of Cetus the Sea Monster--the technobeurocratic fear-based monster of collective human consciousness--brightens in the night sky to 1.7 magnitude, clearly visible to the naked eye just after sunset. Viewing map below.

Mira, just 400 light years from Earth, is the brightest and most famous long-period variable star (LPV), so named because it boasts at times to emulate the brightness and reddish tint of Royal Aldebaran (0.85 mag) (Allen). Mira's breathing period is slightly irregular, about 332 days. Generally Mira brightens from its minimum (about 10.0 magnitude - totally invisible to the naked eye) to about 5th or 3rd magnitude. Rarely, does it brighten to 2nd mag. It is now (Feb 17) 1.7 magnitude and has expanded to over the size of the orbit of Mars. Even though Mira is a giant star (about 700 times the diameter of our sun, it is rather cool, and so during its minimum brightness, its actual luminosity is even less than that of our sun.

Mira Ceti enters the ecliptic at 6° 30' sidereal Aries. Astrologically, Mira can instill a sense of awe, emulating something magnificent, boasting great power, but can be just an expression of hot air, all show but no real power, just self-importance. Mira asks us to discern whether this enticement is real or just pretty dramatics duping the naive.

Mira Cetus Star Chart

Looking west at sunset. The brightest in the sky is Venus, also quite beautiful. Eris and Sedna are shown to indicate their positions only, they of course are not visible. Mira, with a reddish tint, is now bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Chart made with Carina's "Voyager."

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Copyright © 2007 Nick Anthony Fiorenza, All Rights Reserved

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