The rival to Mars

Joe Rao writes about the Wonders of Scorpius at space.com. It is the summer contellation to rival Orion in the winter. The brightest star in the contellation is Antares, the rival of Ares or Mars depending upon whether you are Greek or Roman.

Antares, a supergiant star, 700 times the Sun’s diameter, large enough to engulf even the orbit of Mars, if the solar system were centered on it.

Antares itself is relatively cool as stars go; only 6,000 to 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit compared with 11,000 degrees for the Sun. Its low temperature accounts for its ruddy color. It’s at least 17,000 times as luminous as the Sun, yet less than one-millionth in overall density.

Antares is 604 light years away and is an irregular variable star, meaning that it expands and contracts in an unpredictable manner causing its brightness to fluctuate.

Look south towards the horizon as the scorpion slinks across the souther sky at night!

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