"The Wonderful Stars of the Winter Triangle"

Scheduled air date: 2001 Feb 26-Mar 04

The Winter Triangle asterism appears due south at around 8:00-9:00 PM during the next couple of weeks.  It is comprised of the three stars Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse (from brightest to faintest).
(Shown for mid-Northern latitudes.  The dark grey band represents the Milky Way.)

Even though Betelgeuse appears fainter from Earth, it is hundreds of times larger than either Sirius or Procyon.  The above illustration compares the relative sizes of these stars, as well as our own—the Sun.  Betelgeuse actually fluctuates in size from about 500 times the diameter of the Sun (at minimum), to about 900 times the diameter of the Sun (at maximum)!

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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