Unicorns: Monoceros, the Constellation

Monoceros constellation.jpg

Monoceros is a faint constellation on the celestial equator. Its name is Greek for unicorn. The constellation has some interesting features to observe with the aid of a small telescope:
V838 Monocerotis, a variable red supergiant star, had an outburst starting on January 6, 2002; in February of that year, its brightness increased by a factor of 10,000 in one day. After the outburst was over, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to observe a light echo, which illuminated the dust surrounding the star.
Monoceros also contains Plaskett’s Star, which is a massive binary system whose combined mass is estimated to be that of almost 100 Suns put together.
It also contains two super-Earth exoplanets in one planetary system: COROT-7b and  COROT-7c.

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