Optical photograph of the variable star Mira

Optical photograph of the variable star Mira

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Credit: JOHN SANFORD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: One of a pair of optical photographs showing the variable star Mira. Mira is a red giant which varies periodically in brightness by a factor of roughly 1700, behaviour which earned it its name; Mira is Latin for "wonderful". It has a period of about 331 days. This photograph was taken when Mira was near maximum brightness; it is the bright orange-yellow star in the centre of the image. Photo number R670/023 shows the star near minimum brightness. Mira lies 95 light years away in the constellation of Cetus and is also known as Omicron Ceti or Mira Ceti.

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Keywords: astronomy, cosmology, mira, mira ceti, omicron ceti, peculiar, red giant star, science, star, star death, stellar, variable, variable red giant, variable star

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