A Star Named Melville

Everyone has heard of Sigma Octantis, our southern pole star. But how many of us have ever heard of a star named Melville that lies even closer to the south celestial pole? 

Spectacular Gamma Velorum

Shining at magnitude 1.78 with a hot blue-white light, Gamma Velorum is nothing less than spectacular.  Located about 840 light years away, it is a complex multi-star complex that contains the nearest Wolf-Rayet star to Earth.

Barnard’s Star and Poniatowski’s Bull

The obsolete constellation, Taurus Poniatowski (Poniatowski’s Bull), is a gorgeous sight – its anchor stars are gloriously bright, and the background is splashed with a multitude of fainter stars that straggle off the western edge of the Milky Way.

Star Clouds

I don’t think any term in astronomy captures my imagination more than “star clouds”. It conjures up images of exactly what they are… countless stars spanning vast stretches of the night sky; the glow of immeasurable starlight resembling enormous silvery night clouds.

A Tauri… Aloe and Star

Few things are as gratifying as when three major passions collide. I love books. I love stars. I love aloes. And yesterday was about all three when I came across an aloe named “A Tauri” in a 1970’s aloe book and then observed its stellar namesake…

Beautiful Carbon Stars

Carbon stars are absolutely beautiful. In these pristine Kalahari skies some carbon stars smoulder like red-hot embers, others glitter like stellar rubies, and some are the blood-red of J.R. Hind’s famous blood-drop – R Leporis.