Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

The Solitary Star

Fomalhaut, the Solitary star

Have you ever noticed the loneliest star?

Fomalhaut (or Alpha Piscis Austrini) is the brightest star in the faint constellation Piscis Austrinus – the Southern Fish – and the 17th or 18th brightest in the sky. It can be seen low in the southern sky during these evenings.

Fomalhaut, sometimes called the Autumn Star, appears in a part of the sky that is largely empty of bright stars. For this reason, it is also often called the Lonely One or Solitary One.

But, it’s been less lonely since the discovery of its planet ‘Fomalhaut b’ in 2008. Fomalhaut b – the first extrasolar planet to be imaged at visible wavelengths – orbits the loneliest star.

Fomalhaut is also one of the first known to have a disk of dust around it, a sign that more planets might be forming there.

Image taken last October 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm.

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