JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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 minimum brightness; it is seen as an insignificant orange-yellow star just below the centre of the image. Photo number R670/024 shows the star near its maximum, when it is easily the brightest star in the field. 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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