Astonishing Mira

May 29, 2024


Photographer: Paolo Palma
Summary Authors: Paolo Palma; Jim Foster

Shown above at lower left is the astonishing star Mira in the Whale's neck which, when I photographed it in mid-March 2024, was barely visible to the naked eye. I captured it by looking west from my home in Rome, Italy shortly after sunset. After being absent for 10 months, Mira was shining again just like the other stars forming the roof of my garden. Some 200-300 light years away, its dimming and brightening is because it's a variable pulsating, red giant star. 
During its absence, Mira reached 10th magnitude making it a telescopic object. Reappearing as if awoke from its lethargy with the arrival of springtime, it was approximately 5th magnitude in mid-March. It's actually at its brightest now in late May, about 3.5 magnitude, but unfortunately, the Sun is hiding it from our view. Note that Jupiter is directly above the tree. Photo taken on March 12, 2024.
Photo Details: Huawei p30 pro camera; ISO 1250; 2.5 seconds exposure. 
Rome, Italy Coordinates: 41.8967, 12.4822
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