The Sky at Night

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The Independent Online
Two weeks ago, astronomers announced the latest discovery of a planet going round a star other than our Sun. The star is Rho Coronae Borealis, nestling in the northern crown, and it is said to have a planet comparable to Jupiter. The evidence for the planet is indirect. Not even the world's most powerful telescopes can actually see it. But its 5th magnitude parent, a Sun-like star lying 50 light years away, is just bright enough to be detectable with the naked eye in a dark sky.

The constellation Corona Borealis is currently well up over the eastern horizon as it gets dark. Small, and relatively faint, it is nevertheless rather easy to find because of its compact semicircular shape. The brightest jewel in the crown is the second magnitude star now often appropriately called Gemma. Its traditional Arabic name though is Alphecca - 'the bright one of the dish'.

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