Jupiter passes very close to a star named Wasat this month. Continue reading →
¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending May 17, 2014
You could just hear Abbott and Costello.
“Hey, Abbott. Wasat?”
“I’m askin’ you. Wasat?”
Wasat is a star in Gemini around the waistline of Pollux, the twin that bears the same name as the star representing his head. It is actually a triple star about 60 light years away.
Two of the stars orbit each other so closely, they can’t be seen separately. But their combined light can be seen brightening and dimming in spectrograph observations over a six year period. Their spectra are different enough to tell that there are two of them and not just one star varying in brightness. A third star orbits them every 1,200 years and is visible in a telescope. In a few hundred thousand years, it may be possible to see all three of the Wasat stars from Earth as our sun and the Wasat system are moving toward each other.
Wasat is an Arabic word for middle. Being at Pollux’s waistline, it is the middle of the twin. But it is also close ...