May 20, 2019

The Scarlet Hues of TX Piscium.

U Camelopardalis, a carbon star with the same fate as TX Piscium.

(Credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble).

Oh, pretty! Is a frequent exclamation surrounding that rarity of celestial beasts, the carbon star. Fans of this space will recall our exploits tracking down such favorites as Hind’s Crimson Star, UU Aurigae, and V Hydrae. These ruddy stars come as a welcome surprise in the often monotone universe and can serve as a star party “secret weapon” when every other ‘scope is pointed at Albireo. This week, we’ll look at just such a treat that is well placed for fall viewing for the northern hemisphere. And October is an ideal time to look for it, as Mercury, Mars, and Saturn huddle low in the dusk, Jupiter hasn’t yet reached its evening prime time, and Venus remains high in the dawn. [Read more...]