Science

The Stars In The Sky Are A Lot Older Than You Think

We’ve had an unusually cosmic start to 2018.

In the first month of 2018, stargazers were treated to a phenomenon as we experienced a Blue Moon, a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon. In other space-related news, Elon Musk successfully launched his super-rocket on the 6th February 2018, after five years of planning, managing to get the Falcon Heavy rocket into Mars’ orbit. We truly are a planet obsessed with space, the moon, and the stars.

According to a study, 58 percent of 18-24-year-olds in America believe in astrology and many of us follow our horoscopes each month. For centuries, humans have used the stars in the sky to track and interpret patterns and for navigational use.

The International Astronomical Union recognizes 88 constellations covering the entire northern and southern sky; there are 12 constellations dedicated to the zodiacs, each corresponding to a given star-sign. But, just how far away are these stars that we use to map the sky and predict our fates according to our star signs? RS Components reveal all with their fascinating interactive graphic.

‘How old is the light from the stars?’ reveals exactly how far back in time you’re looking when you look up at the night sky.

Here are the top five stars whose light is travelling the furthest to reach us from:

  1. The furthest star in the constellations is Mu Sagittarii, found in Sagittarius. The light left the star in 982 BC

  2. Iota1 Scorpii, Scorpio. The light left the star in 88 AD

  3. Eta Leonis, Leo. The light left the star in 718 AD

  4. Zeta Geminorum, Gemini. The light left the star in 721 AD

  5. Epsilon Capricorni, Capricorn. The light left the star in 958 AD

These stars are all emitting light into our night sky that is over 1,000 years old. The starlight from these five stars is older than the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the outbreak of the Black Death in 1349 and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa being painted in 1503.

After looking at the stars in each of the constellations that are the furthest away, the graphic also reveals the stars whose light is the closest to us:

  1. The closest star out of the constellations is Beta Geminorum, found in Gemini. The light left the star in 1984

2= Beta Leonis, Leo. The light left the star in 1982

2= Beta Virginis, Virgo. 1982

3= Delta Capricorni, Capricorn. The light left the star in 1979

3= Gamma Virginis, Virgo. 1979

4= 10 Tauri, Taurus. The light left the star in 1973

4= Iota Piscium, Pisces. 1973

5. Psi Capricorni, Capricorn. The light left the star in 1970

The closest light travelling towards us tonight, from 1984, left the star Beta Geminorum when the first Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” song was recorded and British ice dancers Torvill and Dean had just become the highest scoring figure skaters at the 1984 Winter Olympics. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club and “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner were both new records, dominating the music charts.

How long ago is the light from the stars in your constellation been shining? Visit RS Components to find out more.

1503.

After looking at the stars in each of the constellations that are the furthest away, the graphic also reveals the stars whose light is the closest to us:

The closest star out of the constellations is Beta Geminorum, found in Gemini. The light left the star in 1984

2= Beta Leonis, Leo. The light left the star in 1982

2= Beta Virginis, Virgo. 1982

3= Delta Capricorni, Capricorn. The light left the star in 1979

3= Gamma Virginis, Virgo. 1979

4= 10 Tauri, Taurus. The light left the star in 1973

4= Iota Piscium, Pisces. 1973

5. Psi Capricorni, Capricorn. The light left the star in 1970

The closest light travelling towards us tonight, from 1984, left the star Beta Geminorum when the first Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” song was recorded and British ice dancers Torvill and Dean had just become the highest scoring figure skaters at the 1984 Winter Olympics. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club and “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner were both new records, dominating the music charts.