|2. The Universe / Space, Stars and Galaxies / Constellations|
Constellations: Corona Borealis 'the Northern Crown'
Camelopardalis | Cancer | Canes Venatici | Canis Major | Canis Minor | Capricornus | Carina | Cassiopeia | Centaurus
Cepheus | Cetus | Chamæ leon | Circinus | Columba | Coma Berenices | Corona Australis | Corona Borealis | Corvus
Crater | Crux | Cygnus | Delphinus | Dorado | Draco | Equuleus | Eridanus | Fornax | Gemini | Grus | Hercules | Horologium
Hydra | Hydrus | Indus | Lacerta | Leo | Leo Minor | Lepus | Libra | Lupus | Lynx | Lyra | Mensa | Microscopium | Monoceros
Musca | Norma | Octans | Ophiuchus | Orion | Pavo | Pegasus | Perseus | Phoenix | Pictor | Pisces | Piscis Austrinus
Puppis | Pyxis | Reticulum | Sagitta | Sagittarius | Scorpius | Sculptor | Scutum | Serpens | Sextans | Taurus
Telescopium | Triangulum | Triangulum Australe | Tucana | Ursa Major | Ursa Minor | Vela | Virgo | Volans | Vulpecula
Will there be any stars in my crown,
It has a fainter sibling in the southern hemisphere: Corona Australis 'the Southern Crown'. Corona Borealis also includes a cluster of galaxies (Abell 2065) which average 1,200,000,000 light years2 away.
The seven major stars of this group form a recognisable crown shape. The usual story is that the crown was a wedding present to Ariadne, a princess of Crete. Abandoned by her husband Theseus on the island of Naxos, she then married one of the lesser gods Dionysus, who, upon her death, placed her crown in the heavens. You can read more about this Greek myth at Richard Dibon-Smith's website.
Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe saw it as a camp circle.
Welsh mythology connects it with the palace of Arianrhod, who according to the Mabinogion was the sister of Gwydion and had a castle near Dinas Dinille.
Stars of Corona Borealis
The scientific star names are simpler to understand (if you know your Greek alphabet). For example: 'alpha' means it is the brightest star in that constellation. The next brightest is designated 'beta' etc. Combined with the genitive, this is known as the 'Bayer designation'. Some stars have proper names as well, for example, alpha Coronae Borealis is Gemma. Others are known by their catalogue number.
The brightest star in Corona Borealis, Gemma, is a variable of the Algol (beta Pegasi) type. This is actually a close pair of stars which routinely eclipse one another, causing a decrease in magnitude of about a tenth. They are, however, far enough apart that no matter is physically transferred from one star to another.
However, the star T Coronae Borealis, which lies slightly south-east of Epsilon, regularly receives matter from somewhere over a period of decades. Some speculate that the star is feeding from a white dwarf with an accretion disk.
This periodic interaction with the star results in episodes of Thermo-Nuclear Runaway (TNR) in the star's photosphere3. The change is nothing less than spectacular. At the moment it is only visible with a large telescope, but it has been known to be magnitude +1.35 during eruptions. The last of these were seen in 1866 and 1946. So any time now we might see this nova changing the appearance of the crown.
Extrasolar Planets in Corona Borealis
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