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Auriga the Charioteer is the last of the autumn constellations with a right ascension of six hours and a declination of 4173 degrees Auriga is an ancient Northern Hemisphere constellation featuring one of the brightest stars in the sky Capella Auriga is usually shown as a charioteer the young Auriga wields a whip in one hand and holds a goat Capella and her twothree kids in the other To find Auriga first locate Orion Taurus is to the right west and just above these two much higher in the sky you will see Capella While this star marks roughly the mid-point of the constellation north to south most of the more interesting aspects of the constellation are found to the south of the star all the way down to El Nath the second brightest star gamma Auriga which is actually shared with Taurus and also known as beta Taurus Aurigas stars are fairly bright five are second magnitude or brighter Alpha Auriga Capella is the sixth brightness star at a visual magnitude of 008 The star is 435 light years away and is about ten times the size of our Sun Capellas visual magnitude is really the combined brightness of the primary star and another star that revolves every 104 days This star is also known as Menkalina The star name derives from the Arabic name Al Mankib dhil Inan The Shoulder of the One Who Holds the Reins that is The Shoulder of the Charioteer Several open clusters are found in Auriga Each contains about 100 stars and is about 2700 light years away The main part of Auriga is a five-sided figure of first second third magnitude stars The Charioteer has two strange variable stars Epsilon is usually a third magnitude star then once every twenty-seven years it undergoes an eclipse dimming by almost a magnitude for nearly two years The next scheduled eclipse is in the late summer of 2010 The
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