Happy Wednesday everyone and welcome to a very special #WUFO week!
You may remember, or have seen on the pinned post of the @stargazingsidequest Instagram account, that on Jan 18th 2022 I tweeted out what I read in John Keel’s “The Mothman Prophecies” that you’re apparently more likely to see a UFO at a 10pm on a Wednesday. The next day was a Wednesday and also correlated with the Sun entering Aquarius (the stereotypical weirdo of the zodiac) right around 10pm so I figured it would be a great time to look up…
Today marks exactly ONE YEAR since that tweet that inspired Liminal Earth to start up our weekly UFO watch party! The first WUFO was technically on the 19th, but this is the closest Wednesday to that date so we are considering tonight to be the 1 year anniversary celebration. Hurray! To celebrate we will be having the one and only John E. L. Tenney on as our special guest. I’ll be on tonight too!
Anyways, onto tonight’s side quest!
This week (and next) we will be getting to know a few stars in one of my personal favorite constellations, Orion. Tonight we’ll be looking for the red supergiant star in Orion known as Betelgeuse.
When you go outside tonight, look directly up to find the Orion constellation. This will be pretty much directly overhead and is generally one of the first constellations people learn so you’ll be able to recognize it pretty easily. Check out one of the many stargazing apps available like Sky Map for help if you need it! Betelgeuse will be the reddish-orangeish looking star at the top left, marking one of Orion’s shoulders. It’s Arabic name even translates to “the giant’s shoulder”. Betelgeuse’s color is very distinct from the other stars in this constellation so it will be easy to spot.
Betelgeuse is a variable star, which means its magnitude (brightness) varies. You can even track this on Twitter by following Betelgeuse Status (@betelbot) which tracks its brightness and also lets us know if this red supergiant has gone supernova yet. The account’s most recent status update shows our target star for this week’s side quest was at 110% of it’s usual brightness! It must be excited for WUFO’s one year anniversary! 😉
Did you know that Betelgeuse is so big that if it was in the center of our solar system instead of our own sun, it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter?? To learn more check out this article by Astro Backyard where you can learn all about this massive and fantastic star.
Let us know if you find Betelgeuse tonight! Be sure to tag #WUFO @stargazingsidequest and @liminal.earth on Instagram with your pictures of Orion and this star so we can boost and celebrate your stargazing achievement for this week!
Thank you all so much for being here for our one year anniversary!!
As always, check out Stellarium – a free program that you too can use to explore the universe with!