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Canopus shine

Sirius with its -1.47 magnitude is the brightest star we see in the night sky. The second brightest star is Canopus, and has an apparent magnitude of -0.72. This star is located in the constellation Carina, and is 309 light-years from Earth. From Earth it is easily seen as a white-yellow dominant star. Because of its position and brightness, Canopus is a star that spacecraft (during flight) often use for orientation. The brilliant giant star is a little-known type G supergiant, with an estimated surface temperature of 7280 K. After consuming hydrogen in the nucleus – Canopus has gone through a red giant phase, and is now in the phase of burning helium in the nucleus.

Bigger than the Sun

The star has a very warm corona, which is ten times warmer than the Sun’s. This corona can be seen on X-rays, and radio waves. Scientists have also noticed large sources of X-rays that are most likely emitted from that corona. Physically, star is 66 times larger than the Sun, and its mass is 8 to 9 times larger than the Sun. With this magnitude, star is located on the border between medium and massive stars. This mass is not enough for Canopus to explode as a supernova, and with that this star will never end up as a white dwarf. How far is it? The New Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006, and in 2015 it arrived near Pluto. It would fly to the Canopus star approximately 6.3 million years ago.

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Canopus star

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