Looking Up: It's All In The Point Of View

Dec 2, 2019

A celestial map of the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog. Annotation (arrow pointing to Farud) by KRCC. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Credit Torsten Bronger / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up Hal speaks of the star Furud, which means "the solitary one".

I’m sometimes asked how I pick what objects in the Colorado night sky to talk about. Sometimes I pick things that are beautiful and other times I pick things that are inherently interesting, and sometimes it’s both. And then there is today’s topic, the star Furud.

Furud rises in our night sky this time of year and is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I like the name, Furud, which means “the solitary one,” although the star has neighbors. Furud is about 335 ly away, and it lies in the Milky Way, from Earth’s point of view, so dust and dirt between us dim it quite a bit. It’s actually about 4000 times brighter than our Sun and it has a weird, too-slow rotational velocity. Astronomers were able to figure out that this odd turning rate is not because Furud itself is odd, but rather our point of view is the culprit. It seems we are looking at Furud, not from the side, but rather looking down, so to speak, on one of its poles. I love it when we figure out cool stuff like that!

If you’d like to take a closer look at Furud, or any of the other wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit csastro.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties.