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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Earthsky Tonight, February 10, 2010: You need a dark sky to see Eridanus

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

Eridanus the river
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Here is one of the sky’s most graceful and beautiful constellations, if you have access to a very dark sky. You won’t see this one from the city, or even the suburbs.

Eridanus the River begins near the star Rigel in the constellation Orion. It wells up in a great loop before ambling back down toward the southern horizon.

Eridanus is one of the longest and faintest constellations. It’s variously said to represent the Nile, Euphrates or the River Po. It’s also sometimes called the River of Orion. From most of the U.S., the River disappears below the southern horizon. However, if you live at a very southerly latitude in the U.S. you can see a special sight: the star that represents the end of the River. This star is named Achernar.

Achernar is the ninth brightest star in the heavens. It is about the same brightness as Rigel, the most brilliant star in the constellation Orion, which ranks 7th.

Written by Deborah Byrd

Other Links:

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

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