Looking Up: Our Not So Little Runaway

Mar 5, 2018

Thar she blows! Artistic image of star Naos (Zeta Puppis)
Credit This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Kryptid at the English Wikipedia project.

Have you seen Naos, the runaway star? This week on Looking Up Hal pinpoints it in the night sky for us.

There is an interesting and odd star visible in the Southern Colorado sky right now that is worth a look, the strange and lovely star Naos, at just under 1000 ly from Earth.

Almost due south in the night sky, Naos is roughly on the line from Betelgeuse through Sirius, and was the mythological star ship of Jason the Argonaut. Today, it is the rarest and hottest of all “normal” stars, a blue supergiant star with a surface temperature of over 75,000 F, glowing 360,000 brighter than our Sun.

Naos is a runaway star, or maybe it would be better to call it a throw away star. Something happened a couple million years ago, and Naos was ejected from a star cluster at high speed, better than 60 miles per second, and it spins at over 135 miles per second!

Naos is not long for this universe. It is blowing through its nuclear fuel at a tremendous rate. It is blowing its surface off, in the form of a solar wind, at a speed of over 1400 miles per second, over ten million times the rate of our Sun. It can safely be said that Naos really blows.

If you’d like to take a closer look at Naos or any of the other wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit csastro.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties.