by Bill Pellerin
Object: Rigel—Beta Orionis
Class: Blue giant star
R.A.: 5 h, 14 m, 32 s
Dec: -8 degrees, 12 minutes, 06 seconds
Distance: 860 ly
Optics needed: Unaided eye
Why this object is interesting:
The constellation of Orion is a telecope magnet, drawing telescopes to the bright stars and bright nebula it contains. Rigel is probably the second most well known star in the constellation, behind Betelgeuse, and while Rigel is the ‘beta’ star in the constellation it is sometimes brighter than its better known companion.
It’s easy to find, so easy that I considered leaving out the finder chart, and it’s well placed for observers at this time of the year. Rigel transits at 19:46 and sets at 01:33 on the 18th of February, the day of the new moon.