INFO PAGE

Information
The sky is filled with it - information, that is. Anyone with eyes to see and calculators to triangulate can gather whatever information is apparent to them - it's a free galaxy (so far as we've been able to determine). At first glance, it appeared to many stellar starers that the world was surrounded by a giant black orb, studded internally with ever twinkling gems - obviously put there by the gods (woe to any sentient civilization out there without such substantial views of their celestial surroundings). Fast forward multiple aeons later, n enter some perspective into the equation, it seemed equally obvious that these different twinkling points of light were at many varrying n vast differences of distances away from our stellar perch - somewhere in the middle of nowhere as far as the galaxy's concerned, otherwise we woulda inherited a tutor or two by now, supposedly.

This site attempts to present a mouse's eye view of the universe, as such arranged by casually corralled constellations (numbered 42 times 2.01, or phi times pi, or something similar) - and there are several things to consider before approcahing any answers to anything. In order to migrate your imagination, n possible perception, from the weary rock in which it now dwells to the outer realms of cosmic spacedust n time, we will start with what stars appear to be n gradually venture into something more like what they actually are. First of all, stars are suns (well, most of em anyways) - n if the galaxy is alive, an actual living creature, then the stars are but single cells in it's almost unfathomable existence. That brings us lowly lifeforms down to the level of bacteria - so if yer yet comfortable being so humbled, n ready to proceed onward into reality, adopt a non viral ever evolved attitude, n proceed reading further into the void.

Star Names
Most star names are uncountable thousands of years old - dating back to the first stargazers, and most are in Arabic. We have usually elected to not include what particular language it is, as much for space constraints as to make the more geeky among you feel that much more important. In any case, the Arabic word for "the" is "al" (very much like "la" in Latin, Spanish, etc) - thus, there are just oodles of stars that begin with or contain this ancient syllable. If your name is Al, in real life, try not to get a big head about it - they're only stars, have another beer.

Besides names (those lucky enough to have one), most stars visible to the naked eye are given specific designations; depending on their constellation and brightness - brightest stars listed first, in the Greek Alphabet (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc). For example - the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major is called Alpha Canis Majoris (this particular star is also called Sirius, and is coincidentally the brightest star in our sky). This is a rule of thumb, however, and it is often enough broken. Beta Orionis (Rigel) is actually the brightest star in the constellation Orion - while the second brightest star (Betelgeuse) is given the Alpha handle. Such is life in the fast paced world of professional stargazing - and those who know why have found very few who care.

The tables included herein list stars pretty much by the coolest in the constellation. As alluded to before, in most cases, this turns out to be the brightest stars, but other times they will appear out of order - try not to be very alarmed. Much of these decisions were made in the wee hours, and based more on aesthetic preferences, relevant only to those who notice such things. If the end of the world happens due to one of our miscalculations, a formal letter of apology will be issued - and posted somewhere on the rear wall of the Maintenance Bay Bathing Facilities, in the sub-basement of the Humanoid Wing of the Anthropological Museum on the 3rd moon of Rigel 12. Happy hunting.

Some Cool Star Names
Alpha Centauri • Proxima • Tau Ceti • Wolf 359 • 51 Peg • Alpheratz • Sirrah • Mirach • Almach • Almak • Altair • Hamal • Capella • Arcturus • Sirius • Procyon • Geidi • Canopus • Miaplacidus • Mira • Diadem • Gemma • Alchiba • Acrux • Mimosa • Gacrux • Deneb • Alberio • Thuban • Rastaban • Altanin • Achernar • Cursa • Alnair • Castor • Pollux • Rasalgathi • Ruticulis • Alphard • Regulus • Denebola • Arneb • Vega • Rasalhague • Celbelrai • Rigel • Betelgeuse • Trapezium • Markab • Scheat • Algenib • Algol • Mirfak • Ankaa • Formalhaut • Naos • Rukbat • Antares • Unukalhai • Alya • Aldebaran • Hyades • Pleiades • Elnath • Atria • Dubhe • Merak • Phecda • Megrez • Alioth • Talitha • Mizar • Alcor • Alkaid • Benetnasch • Polaris • Spica • Zavijava • Porrima





The 88 Constellations
Andromeda • Antlia • Apus • Aquarius • Aquila • Ara • Aries • Auriga • Bootes • Caelum • Camelopardalis • Cancer • Canes Venatici • Canis Major • Canis Minor • Capricorn • Carina • Cassiopeia • Centaurus • Cepheus • Cetus • Chamaeleon • Circinus • Columba • Coma Berenices • Corona • Corona Australis • Corona Borealis • Corvus • Crater • Crux • Cygnus • Delphinus • Dorado • Draco • Equuleus • Eridanus • Fornax • Gemini • Grus • Hercules • Horologium • Hydra • Hydrus • Indus • Leo • Lepus • Libra • Lupus • Lynx • Lyra • Mensa • Microscopium • Monoceros • Musca • Norma • Octans • Ophiuchus • Orion • Pavo • Pegasus • Perseus • Phoenix • Pictor • Pisces • Piscis Austrinus • Puppis • Pyxis • Reticulum • Sagitta • Sagittarius • Scorpius • Sculptor • Scutum • Serpens • Sextans • Taurus • Telescopium • Triangulum • Triangulum Australe • Tucana • Ursa Major • Ursa Minor • Vela • Virgo • Volans • Vulpecula

Constellations
The night sky contains many groupings of bright stars - and since countless ages past, budding stargazers have been tempted to connect the dots. There are many mythological characters and creatures situated high over our nocturnal heads staring down on us for all eternity. Besides the signs of the Zodiac, there is a unicorn (Monoceros), a wolf (Lupus), a giraffe (Camelopadalis), a fox (Vulpecula), 2 bears (Ursa Major and Minor), 2 dogs (Canis Major and Minor) - and a plethora of other substantial objects inanimate and/or not. However, some of perhaps your favorite constellations, such as Aquarius and Cancer, have no cool stars in them - or, at least they're not bright enough to be able to pick out from civilization - and although, sadly, they have been included here, you will probably not care.

With special attention to the closest and brightest: in most cases, we have attempted to include all main, naked eye stars (for those of you viewing from a nudist colony), that do draw out what we humans consider to be the main elements of the kooky constellation in que question. Maybe you think some of these stars aren't cool. Maybe you think that this list is too long. Maybe you think that this assortment of paragraphs is too long. Well, poo on you. But because we're geeks, we think that two Blue White Main Sequence stars in orbit around an Orange Giant is really cool, even if it is about 120 light years away. If you know what star I'm talking about, you get to go to the head of the line and fog up the eyepiece first. For extra credit, what constellation and famous scifi situation is Geidi Prime from?

Coordinates
Think of the sky as a giant sphere surrounding us - the ancients did. And while we're not going to persecute you for not believing wholeheartedly that the edge and limit of the universe is a black velvet bubble encrusted with gems and jewels created and displayed so solely for the nocturnal entertainment of man and woman kind, this fabric has been measured by interstellar tailors and found to contain exactly 24 hours (along the Celestial Equator, east to west, more or less) and precisely 360 degrees (180 north to 180 south, zero being the Celestial Equator) - each divided and subdivided into minutes and seconds, respectively. How convenient - cuz that's just exactly how we puny Humans are already quite used to measuring all sorts of round things like spheres and time. Perhaps there is a god after all. Or at least a pod of space whales with some sort of infinite agenda?

The Celestial Equator is an imaginary extension way out there into outer space, usually delineated by dotted or dashed lines, that corresponds precisely to the equator on Earth - which as far as we are concerned, from our perspective, is the central plane of everything we have a hope of glimpsing, and therefore a handy little reference point. As far as astronomers are concerned, this is known as 0° (zero degrees) - it is very cold in space, usually. There are also such things known as Celestial Poles, each possessing 180 degrees of either positive or negative origin. These are infinite rays of light, compressed down to an easy to carry single dimension - so human viewing is impossible, but our extremely sensitive astronomically telescopic computers have been able to register them as points of reference since the projection devices were installed upon original delivery of the planet several million years ago.

And there’s also the Ecliptic, which is the handy dandy, if responsible little reference point (if your perspective is, shall we say, somewhat more celestial). Should you run into one of these dotted or dashed lines, in your many journeys into outer space, please do not tamper with, and especially do not ever move them - as it will throw off important observations of such stellar nature, way back here on Earth. The tampering with, of Galactic Markers, is a crime punishable by death on many systems. The Bujomuro system, in the budding baby constellation Garfaligus, for example, whose primary populated planet had been recently refit for manual orbital control, was prematurely thrown willy-nilly into its secondary star one day last millennium due to the otherwise happy hi-jinx of a pair of budding adolescent Garfaligusts celebrating Grufugul’s Night - a classic prank. Most authentic budding adolescent Garfaligusts believe that every night is Grufugul’s Night, if you’re in outer space - and so they tend to spend alot of time up n out there; especially since some mischievous mishap seems to have befell their once happy home planet.

For those of you mind boggled by mind boggling terms like Celestial Equator, and Ecliptic, let us just state simply that the Earth is tilted. It’s all starting to make sense now, innit? Delving further into this ever slanted topic, the solar system is shaped like a disk - that is, almost all the planets currently associated in it have perhaps coincidentally chosen to orbit the sun on the same plane. This is a perfectly natural state of being, so some scientists say - try not to be very alarmed.

The only trouble is, that while Earth shares this perfectly natural orbital philosophy, our blue world is (as we say, as far as you know) tilted, some 23.44° for those keeping score - which is why some believe we have seasons. This disk and plane of being situation means, to us, that when we look at a planet streaking across the sky like an elephant or a snail with no place particular to go, chances are pretty good that it will be on pretty much the same line between our east and west as the Sun and the Moon are often found - none of the parties in question ever veering far from it. This so far equally imaginary line in the sky is so-called the aforementioned Ecliptic - supposedly because that’s where most eclipses are bound to happen. This so-called aforementioned Ecliptic ventures furthest north around Gemini and Taurus, and furthest south while world touring through Sagittarius and Scorpio, and crosses the aforementioned and proportionally glorified Celestial Equator at Pisces and Virgo (at 0° 0hours and 0° 12hours, respectively).

Thus, long story finally brought into fruition, all stars are given coordinates based on this silly system of determining points on a sphere. But don’t worry if you have no concept of trigonometry - everybody has computers these daze. The distance in degrees of a star in proper proportion between the Celestial Equator and its nearest Celestial Pole (roughly coordinated north to south) is widely heralded as Declination, and substantially measured in degrees of arc, further exactitudes thrust upon it in the form of minutes and seconds, also of arc. Joan of Arc was not available for comment, and therefore we have put her down as taking no position on the subject. Where something is (presumably a celestial object of some sort), along but not necessarily in relation to the Celestial Equator (roughly east to west, except for Maui), is often clandestinely referred to as Right Ascension - and also measured sometimes in degrees, but (one would think to quell the infusion of confusion) most commonly nailed down to hours, minutes and seconds. For those of you experienced, skilled, eager, but lacking in the proper math, one hour is 15° across the sky - thus, 24 of them are generally assumed responsible and left to fill up a complete 360° imaginary virtual circle. Planets within this solar system have had their exact momentary coordinates calculated from the Ecliptic, presumably to be less confusing to those of us who know them best as being from there - very considerate, yes, most kind.

The data included here is based on Norton's 2000.0 - whatever that means. "Probably some reference to the turn of the century?" We could tell you, but then you'd fall asleep - as it is very likely night time wherever it is that you are, and already reading this from. If it is not deep in the wee hours, perhaps you are merely contemplating an impending star party, one where you would like to seem somehow knowledgeable in front of people staring upwards at the sky while drooling on their shoe - or perhaps you are just familiarizing yourself with this website, in anticipation for the uncanny glory that is to come. If none of the above are the case, perhaps it is a rainy, foggy, smoggy, volcanic, or otherwise inhospitable day outside. Well, you'd better hope so - because Spacedogs like to run around in the outer wilderness and pee on every alien tree. To be considered cool like us, you should at least go outside and play some frisbee - try not to chip your teeth.

Ecliptic



Celestial Equator






Celestial Equator

Ecliptic

Distance
Space is vast. And we are very small. Distance in the eternal void is measured in Light Years (ly) - the distance that light has been calculated to travel in the precise time it takes our merely minor microscopic planet to orbit the sun but once - that is, a year. Light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second - which works out to 5,865,696,000,000 or about six trillion miles. This also crunches up, rather handily, to be about 10 trillion km (just barely longer than this section). Thus the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, at 4.3 light years (or a little over 25 trillion miles away) is a nice easy to figure out 43 Tkm. When those pesky Europeans bring the metric system to outer space - they'll be the ones with most of their hair still, for lack of scratching their heads, trying to figure out just how far they've come, and how far there is left to go. If there still is an America by then, perhaps a new flag design will be in order (50 standard stars works out to, um, about 83 and a third metric stars).

The brightest star in our sky, Sirius, is also relatively close at almost 9 light years - or something over 50 trillion miles away. Actually traveling at the speed of light, however, involves something to do with time, so there's no one publicly telling yet how long it would take for you to actually get there, if you did. In fact, if you went fast enough, in theory, you could go back to a time (and quaint, nostalgic era) when these two otherwise innocent looking stars were actually much closer together - thereby bringing into question why you actually bothered to begin your journey in the first place, and making you look a little silly, actually.

Of the 300 some odd stars assembled here for your galactic gratitude, we have intended and been somewhat successful in paying extra special attention to their various distances from us - and thus hath hence divided up the local neighborhood into a few different ranges for your own personal cognitive exploration. Think of them as ever increasing solar central spheres, or incremental generations of possible potential exploration - if yer into such things, if all goes well. A blithe banana for all the math geeks out there: in our calculative assembly, we have noticed that a certain number of numbers appear quite frequently. One can only imagine, from the statistical data collected, that these are round figures - but who are we to argue with the natural order of the things, such shapes being seemingly prevalent in the universe anyways?

As it turns out, as far as our sources are concerned, stars that are within relative arm’s reach, under 15 light years from us, have had their respective distances rounded off to the nearest tenth of a light year (as if that makes any difference to us right now). Most of the rest fall comfortably into singly digital time warp zones. Distances over a hundred ly are rounded off to the nearest 5; over a thousand, to the nearest 50; and over a 2500, to the nearest 100, etc. Stars further away from that are not usually visible at all to the notoriously free spirited naked eye observers - nor are they likely to have cool names like Miaplacidus or Zavijava (as far as we know). Also, it is likely largely assumed by most mainstream melodramaticians that it probably won’t matter exactly how far away something that far away is for at least the next few technological renaissances or so.

Insofar as this matters to you: stars that are unreasonably close to us have had their distances highlighted in larger and brighter text - inversely proportional, and therefore casually complementary to their estimated distance, incrementally, in cautious categories for stellar ranges of under 25, under 50, and under 100 light years away (beyond that, you’re on your own as far as appreciating the difference between, say, 120 and 1200). This is meant and designated to especially alert you to their persistent local presence, if not their very existence - as it is our whim, desire and mischievous intent that you should be aware of those civilizations who have been, as so much, at least aware of you for many millennia.

In danger of stressing something too much, let it be known to all who continue reading this, that, the Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across - so, something that is a mind boggling 10,000 light years away from us would be right around the corner, just next to the coffee shop, half a dozen ursa claws, don’t forget my double mocha, you should know this my now, there’s a dear, keep the change - as far as the rest of the Galaxy is concerned. And to make dark matters further apparent by quoting a distressingly accurate latter day Monty Python, "out by us it’s just 3000 light years wide." Ah, life in the suburbs. The next hub of civilization lit up for our nocturnal perception, the Andromeda Galaxy, is 2.2 million light years away - or, at least that’s where it was 2.2 million lite years ago. Just imagine where it might be today. As for what lies in between, scientists have speculated only sparingly.

In addition to all this talk of distance, some stars appear to us to be grouped with others, but in fact are not. The stars of Orion, for example: virtually none of them are in anything like what is commonly considered to be anywhere near to pretty close proximity to each other - yet it is one of the most recognized star patterns in our sky. While this constellation appears pretty much the same for many light years around us (that’s how far away they are, and intrinsically bright as well), the stars of Ursa Major, or The Big Dipper, are a more authentic association - and likely possess a common gaseous void type origin. Some stars are authentic actual Orbital Binary material however, having faint companions - as if instead of several gas giants, like we have, all that stardust stuff collaborated to form a single smaller star. The Alpha Centauri system is a prime example: consisting of two Main Sequence stars (one Yellow and one slightly more Orange), very much like and of possible common or at least similar origin to our own sun - the happy couple being orbited by a groovy little Red Dwarf dubbed Proxima (meaning closest), brings the tally up to three stars for the price of one. Sirius, the Dog Star, is a such schizophrenic sun. It’s White Dwarf companion in relatively close 50 year orbital proximity, nicknamed The Pup, was not discovered to be so pair annoyed until the late 1950s - although the most ancient Dogon tribe of Africa has legends going back at least hundreds of years, concerning this star and its near invisible offspring (they also knew Jupiter has moons, go figure). This priceless information is said to have been entrusted to them by gods descending from the sky (go figure some more). To find the truth, the Dog Star and the Dogon Star (as a pair), as well as the Alpha Centauri System (as a trine), will be visited by Spacedog at his earliest convenience.

Also not to be undersold is the intrinsically interesting phenomenon of Eclipsing Binaries, where the stars do frequently pass in front of one another, thus giving away their orbital collaboration. Other stars appear to have similar outcroppings, but these tinier points of light are actually completely different stars, much further away. These "Line of Sight" or Observational, or Optical Binaries are imagined to be extremely common in galaxies like our very own, and are custom designed for each star system’s very own unique perspective. For example: Cih, Gamma Cassiopeiae (located at approximately 60° North, 1 hour) is exactly on the opposite side of our sky from Mimosa, Beta Crucis, in the Southern Cross (situated about 60° South, 13 hours). From either star’s perspective, the other would appear at first naked eye glance to be in close enough proximity to our sun Sol - but Cih is 780 light years away (to the north of us, and slightly thataway) and Mimosa is 425 light years away in almost the exact opposite other direction. Three stars lining up in almost a straight line together is not particularly considered by Spacedog to be a vast alien conspiracy - but you know, you never know.

SPACEDOG
demonstrates
"Line of Sight"
•*  Double Star
- or Orbital Binary
0        forming an Optical Binary
with a star closer to SPACEDOG
   WOOF !

•*0
^
what
Spacedog
sees

Star Depiction
In addition to bags n bags of invaluable statistical information, we have provided basic visual representation via depiction situations - to help you further subliminally conjugate what the star or system may look like up close, or at least from a safe approach. If any of these stars seem to not look exactly like this in your telescope, in the field - perhaps you are in the wrong field. Try moving your viewing station about 100 meters to the left, and then to the right - until you get it right. Trust a Spacedog, it’ll be worth the trouble.

The original images were emailed to us through fellow trekkies many blind stardates ago - or rather, our attention was drawn to them. If memory serves, the authentic artist in quizzical question was some mellow sentient mad scientist, who had been around computers for ages already, and was beginning to discover and become comfortable with the rest of the world soon joining him in cyberspace - and thus, as all scientists are communists, offered them for free to anyone who wants them. No lawsuits are expected to be pending for our redistribution herein - nor will any be welcome or tolerated. Besides, we made many more from those original templates, to fill up the full spectacular spectrum with hues ranging the known luminosities and entire visual range. Your deciding to confiscate them for your very own is not an issue of legalities, either. The only payment necessary is the karmic pulse that inspired you to enjoy them so much as to be thought worthy of your ganking. If they weighed in at more than a measly few hundred bytes, however - boy, would you be in trouble. As always, dark matter is depicted with a single black pixel.

For our silly purposes here, we have colored the absolutely by far coolest stars in the color they have chosen and/or selected to shine upon us all (from our perspective, ability to appreciate, and translation/comprehension of stellar radiation). Other more mundane stars are shaded in a neutral color that everybody can agree on - chosen primarily for its ability to read comfortably against its background with all the lights off. If you are stargazing (professionally or otherwise) while viewing this webpage, please be so kind as to read this mindless text aloud to the gathered minions (or have some hapless lackey do it for you) - it will calm and soothe the masses while you adjust your viewfinder and potentially (by a clever ancient amateur astronomer’s maneuver known as distraction) prevent beer from being spilled upon your aperture in disgust. Then, if time and sympathy permits, discuss how and why there are no green or purple stars.
Blue
Blue White
White
Yellow White
Yellow
Yellow Orange
Orange
Red Orange
Red

O
45,000

28,000

10,000

7500


Ia
  Iab
Ib
II III IV V VI
VII
B
Blue
• Rigel, Regulus
A
Blue White
• Sirius, Vega, Altair
F
White
• Polaris
6000
Yellow White
• Procyon
G
Yellow
• SOL (The Sun)
5000
Yellow Orange
• Arcturus
K
Orange
• Pollux
3500
Red Orange
• Antares
M
Red
• Betelgeuse
Spec. °K Color Luminocity Class Example
S
U
P
E
R
G
I
A
N
T
B
R
I
G
H
T

G
I
A
N
T
G

I

A

N

T
S
U
B

G
I
A
N
T
M
A
I
N

S
E
Q
D
W
A
R
F
Small Town
Mayberry - Petticoat Junction

Large Town
Fargo, ND - Little Rock, AR

 
Small City
Cleveland - New Orleans

 
Medium City
San Francisco - Phoenix - Seattle
 
Large City
Boston - Chicago - Miami
 
Metropolis
Tokyo - London - Paris - New York - LA

Spectral Type
Suns come in many flavors, ranging from coolest red (M8, M9) to hottest blue (O4, O5). Their visible appearance, to us, depends on the spectrum we perceive most strongly emanating from them - which is thus determined by how our Human eyes interpret the information sent to us from space. Beyond what is visible to us lie the Infrared and Ultraviolet ranges. There is also Gamma Radiation, X-Rays, and all sortsa things too wiggy for our sheltered evolution to have accounted for. To other species, space might not seem so black - especially those brought up closer to a nebula.

Our sun is rather ordinary, or so it would seem - but there are many different flavors of jujubes in the candy dish. Stars are classified, and hence monickered, by their shade and hue, and thus temperature - from Red (the coolest), through Orange, Yellow, White, and finally Blue (the hottest). Stars also range in varying sizes from Dwarf (the smallest), through Main Sequence, Sub-Giant, Giant, and finally Supergiant. There is rumor and hubbub in the scientific community about adding another one on the end, Super-Duper-Giant - but the jury is still out on that.

Magnitude
Some silly scientist a very long time ago, for love or money, decided he would invent this impossible system for rating stars based on their apparent brightness. So, he picked a certain star, seemingly at random, and said that it was of Zero Magnitude. Then he did something even more completely silly: he proclaimed that stars brighter than this would be given a negative number (presumably so that he wouldn't hafta deal with so many negative numbers in his calculations, as most stars seem much dimmer than that to us). The magnitude of our star, the Sun, is negative twenty-seven. (Twenty-seven is three to the third power, or three cubed, and our planet is happiest being the third out from it. Coincidence? we think not.) Some stars are brighter up close, that number would be their (real, or actual) Absolute Magnitude. Apparent magnitude is what is prevalently presented here, as that is how bright a star appears from our perspective in the vast reaches of cosmic drift - and chances are, none of us are ever gonna get so close enough to such things, which is why we're looking up stuff on the internet in the dead of night.

For your instant gratification standards, subliminal appreciation needs, and mindless virtual simulation scenarios, we have taken special care and precaution as to also highlight the most especially bright stars in the visible sky above you. Those with an Apparent Magnitude closely approaching zero, or even notably less, are noted most especially large and textually bright. Floating somewhere above magnitude 2 and beneath is the boundary for those hence lit up only slightly larger than normal, to further simulate the actual experience of gazing upwards at incomprehensibly twinkling lights. Such highlighted points of light should be visible to the naked eye, on clear nights, even if you view such things in close proximity to what passes for civilization on this primitive planet - the night sky thus being awash in artificial illumination and other forms of what irritable astronomers frustratingly refer to as light pollution. All you need now is a sore neck - maybe if you tried reading this upside down for awhile?

Features, etc.
Some stars are actually interesting. When we come across one like that, we will let you know. Among features mentioned are the closest stars, and the brightest - also, certain strange behaviors, like orbital idiosyncrasies, variability factors, marking imaginary lines, etc - and/or also when a star is due to be destroyed in a fiery blast of Supernova, possibly collapsing into a groovy nebula. When we obtain information regarding who lives there, we'll add another column.

Basically, apparently, some stars are somewhat groovier than others. This disparity is occasionally attributed to characteristics, which they possess, that other stars do not - all things being otherwise equal. These are evidently things that you should know, because the Universe, in Her Infinite Wisdom, has brought you here, thus, to be communicated with n such things so emparted to you - yet, anon.

As technology becomes ever so slightly more civilized, and our vision of some things stellar gradually improves - some of this data, previously held in the highest n irrefutable regard, will be ammended - do not be alarmed by this. The Galaxy, and in fact the entire Universe as we know it, is in a constant state of flux. We humble yet modern day scientists cannot be held responsible for the glaring innaccuracies of longhair egghead generations passed - however, you should pay very close and special attention to us.

Technical Specifications
Astronomy is fascinating - good job if ya can get it. Think about it - just by looking through a glass tube and working out some numbers on a calculator: ("OK - well, that means that this must be ..... and that means that this must be ..... that means that this must be ..... wow!") you can tell how big and how bright something is - that's way out in space. Of course, light taking ages to get here, it's actually more like how it was 50, 800 or 3000 years ago - some of the more distant galaxies are in the billions of light years distant range. Or rather, that's where they were billions of years ago - and don't forget, our galaxy is moving around too - so Spacedog can become extremely busy, at the merest moment’s notice, just about any time he wants to be.

This paragraph might be included in the Distance section, but we decided that one was too big for its own hull breaches already, and this one was promising to be nearly as remarkably small as the one previous. But in the interest of ever more accurate science, we feel it is only fair to inform you that the distances given to stars, in light years (in this website), are actually horribly inaccurate by actual galactic timespace standards. Imagine a poor furry Spacedog’s horror when, upon near completion of this project, he so surfs to realize this sad n perplexing facet of fact. Turns out, previous estimates of stellar distances were made by using ground based telescopic observations and other similarly skewed and primitive assumptions, like how big n bright they must be because of how not so dim they happen to appear from here. Confronted with a paper entitled "The Accuracy of the Hipparcos (and/or) Tycho Parallaxes" (not to be confused with the Hippopotamus and/or Typo Parallels), an entirely different set of numbers arrogantly presented themselves - spawning nightmarish visions of massive corrections to hundreds of previously pain-stalking entries. In the end, for the sake of Spacedog’s uncontrollable drooling returning to casual canine normal, we decided to leave well enough alone and just be so conscientious as to inform the merry meager masses of such weary developments in these very scrawlings - working under the assumption that anyone who would notice or is so prone to care about the dreaded distance difference dilemma might be interested in things so spatial as to read at least this far, or even further hence; or even possibly to find more accurate data somewhere more convenient to such perusings, or even await an even more accurate eventual astronomical era (besides, space being curved, the entrance of circumstances referring to line of sight, with regards to light, becomes even more absurd) - these same increasingly hypothetical souls would, in theory, most likely also be of the similar genuine genius genus to allow for the occasional snippet of more accurate data, as well, as they so flow from newer sources. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. Spacedog is now free to resume his normal diet.

Cosmic Awareness
For some reason there seems to be alot of matter in the form of gas and dust floating out there in endless vast reaches of the cosmic void. Occasionally, these otherwise unemployed atoms will congregate into conjugated verbs of action and begin swirling around together. At a certain point, known as Critical Density, their mutual and collective gravity will cause the clouds to collapse, compress and heat up until their atoms ignite a nuclear reaction - and thus, a star is born. Note a universal constant: the more mass, the more gravity, the bigger the star - so, the smaller gas clouds tend to take longer to getting around to getting their gasses together - which may do well and go far to explain the curious delays in this website’s completion.

Typically, not every last atom of referential existence is easily used up in the formation of a star - but at least now the so-called stragglers have something perhaps a little more persuasive to orbit around - and this is how planets are formed. In our star system, gravity having been presumably stronger the closer you get to the starry eyed sun at the center, more solid rocky planetary spheres were finally formed, and creatively coalesced into the Inner Planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars - while further out, particles were left more to their own volition and thus formed the Gas Giants: Jupiter, Saturn Uranus and Neptune. These massive behemoths (each hundreds of times larger than the Earth) could easily have gathered up enough mass to have collaborated in the forming of another star (as does tend to often enough happen in such similar tantalizing situations) - but they seem to have settled for sitting around separately, and thus on the mere multiple formation of a happy variety of orbital satellites, known as moons (or morons, depending on your political persuasion) - some with the obvious ability to support, and even evolve, what even we primitive myopic types would easily consider to be Life.

Earth's moon, Luna, is suspected to have formed at the same time as the planet proper - and there is evidence of ancient volcanic activity. Mars' moons, Phobos and Diemos, are not spherical, and thus not considered to be natural moons - more likely captured asteroids. The Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter could have once been a more solid planet that broke up somehow long ago into relatively tiny bits. This is why Pluto is not considered by all assembled to be an actual planet, even though it has its very own moon - in an ironic, if poetic, mutual attraction. It is understandably assumed, while pointing to the erratic orbit, that Pluto was potentially once possibly a moon of one of our groovy Gas Giants (or even whatever was once a wild world but is now our unassuming Asteroid Belt, if that is indeed the case) - but was, for some odd reason, hurled out beyond. More planetoid thingies like this are suspected, equally beyond the pale, but have as yet been unidentified officially to the general public at small, medium and extra large.

Further out, beyond the beyond the pale, and surrounding our system like a bubble dome of dust and debris, with a radius ranging from a half to two light years, (perhaps shielding us from the more intense cosmic radiation available anywhere out there) are uncounted snowballs that become comets when daring to drift so close to the central star as to be lit up by it for all to see - its melting surface instantly re-freezing upon personally encountering outer space, thus forming a neon tail so long as to betray its speed and velocity to prying eyes connected to even casually calculating minds. These spherical homes of the occasional brave are called the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt. Why does everything hafta be named after somebody?

Recycling the Void
Eventually, stars use up their fuel and expand. When this happens, their surfaces cool - a Yellow Main Sequence star, like ours, will become a Red Giant. More massive stars may become a Supergiant - and hence attain the size, radius, diameter and circumference of the orbit of Jupiter. Extremely heavy stars tend to explode in a Nova or Supernova, sending their particles of matter into high rotation and vast distribution across even hundreds of light years. This process tends to light up the entire universe - or at least it seems that way for anyone nearby. Supernovae tend to be the brightest things in nearly anyone's sky. Light is amazing.

Stars often tend to shed their outer shell, creating a pretty nebula - and collapse into a pretty White Dwarf at the center of such colorful folds of veiled dancing pretty mists. The mass of White Dwarfs is so compressed that a single sugar cube of white hot fiery matter would weigh in at many tons. Once giant orbs of living flame (the size of a star), White Dwarfs tend to wink out to be about as wee as little ol Planet Earth - while a Pulsar or Neutron Star is collapsed down to the size of a small city, at which state it feels the just imperative to send out pulses of radiation and light at incomprehensibly precise regular intervals. Life in a virtual vacuum. Equally stellar words, such as Quasars and Quarks, are completely different matters entirely - perhaps it is best you do not think about them at all.

Extremely rarely, sentients of this sort will have so much gravity contributed to the equation that they will emerge from the storm as a Black Hole - with forces of gravity so powerful that it is greatly heralded that not even light can bribe the guards to escape, perhaps even punching a hole in space and time itself (likely out of infinite frustration). It is believed that there is a Black Hole at the center of our galaxy, and presumed this is the case with most exponential star groupings. One interesting theory: White Holes are where the stuff of dreams and previous nightmares of trans dimensional warp return to the land of the living - or, they could just be Black Holes at a later stage in life - perhaps even moving back and forth between these two remote extremes - like a grand exaggeration of a Pulsar, perhaps even one day losing their momentum and eventually ultimately downgrading towards doom and becoming perpetual Pulsars themselves.

In any case, life is likely to evolve, or be deposited, anywhere that dares to so obviously exist for any length of time. Most life will not be able to recognize most other life - or for that matter, much more than silly sorta semi sensible wild n wiggy websites, patiently painted with plethoras of pedantic poetic paragraphs, which is the first known sign of a species evolution into actual sentience, pseudo science, or significant insanity. While the quest for life is admirable, the quest to stretch perception to include such discoveries often leads most lifeforms to be sidetracked with the fantastic phenomena involved when stretching perception beyond original design specifications (if your species did not come with a manual, the warranty is void) - seeking things that only exist beyond space-time, such as the original drafts to important manuscripts, or the answers to unanswerable questions (how to bake a better bagel, build a better mousetrap, wire a wilder wiretap, the real reason why the sky is dark at night, or why incredibly inferior music is often infinitely more popular) and other such things involving utter madness - seemingly on a journey of self discovery. It should be noted, however, that most individuals never manage to actually physically venture further than 20 miles from their hometown in their entire lives - just as most sentient species never roam further than 20 light years from their planet, asteroid, or nebula of origin, in their entire existence. As stifling as it may seem, 20 does seem to be the universal constant; and most philosophers are perpetually perplexed by this - but most of their acquaintances find it merely amusing. Mind the muse, gents.

Other Nonsense
This website is mostly optimized for a screen resolution of 1024x768, though at times you might feel more comfortable with higher (supplement windows open at 900x700) and seems to work well with most browsers available to your puny primitive planet in the backward age and era in which you have chosen to settle - even Netscape and IE. As previously stated, colors are best appreciated when your viewing platform is dimly lit. For the complete and full mind boggling effect, if your portal cove is dim enough, you should be able to see, peeking out between the table cell sections, the groovy spacey web background consisting of mostly blackness but the occasional seemingly random scattering of tiny white dots representing the tiny points of light that denote where stars actually are (or were, when their radiation was dispatched in your general direction); in the sky above your heads (from your perspective), or all around in every direction (from Spacedog’s). This is of utmost importance, as several separate scientific teams teeming with astro aliens (far more familiar and casually comfortable with these things thus outer spatial in natural nature) are watching you right now, and gauging your emotional and intellectual perceptional responses for their soon enough to be forthcoming later judgments regarding the age old and timely yet timeless question of whether or not your silly primitive planet is as yet ready to be contacted by these species, and those species, candidly comprising what is more commonly thought of and often referred to as actual civilization. The best thing you could do now is raise one eyebrow, step back, pause a moment, rub your chin, mutter something somewhat intelligent but slightly unintelligible, and get on with your life as is usually usual (albeit a bit more enlightened) - except for the Grays, who don’t seem to be very impressed by much of anything besides fellow insects (galactic lesson: do try to avoid nuclear holocausts whenever possible).

The internet image known as an animated gif that has hence become the trademark, mascot and half logo for our humble website was not created by us. It was discovered many eons ago, sifted from a signal drifting through space, upon a carrier wave largely consisting of what we have only been able and/or willing enough to decipher as probably primitive porn. Whoever this unparalleled genius is may please come forward now and receive a free lifetime membership to this otherwise completely free and likely temporally limited up-tempo website - provided no lawsuits are presented with regards to artistic infringement, and no bees are released from their bonnets with regards to our having changed the colors a bit, or anything else equally silly. We’ll just push a secret button beneath our helmets and teleport off this rock anyways.

If you are using this website as some sorta source for your resume, research project for school, theoretical thesis, or whatever - more power to ya. While we are at times somewhat curious to learn and eventually know what humanoid hands our intellectual spewings forth have fallen into, all that is really required for you to make use of this timeless treasure trove of stellar significancies is the hand delivered cash sum of one million Martian pesos per byte of otherwise priceless information. The right to copyright is left entirely at your own discretion. Fear almighty Karma most of all - most do.

If any of the information presented herein should prove to be somewhat inaccurate, please try to remember that you’re reading this at your own risk. The world, the internet, and indeed the universe, are filled with surprising little potholes like that - and while we don’t want or even like to seem ridiculous enough to ridicule you for having fatefully fallen into one of them, or by reminding you that you hafta look out for such things, it seems apparent that we just did. Should the blood on your brow be wiped off with less ease than it takes to read the rest of this sentence, we shall be entirely relieved.

Any praise, comments, suggestions, corrections, outright grievances, reports of alien abduction, or even cosmic alerts of galactic importance may be kindly directed to spacedog@dudeman.net - as far as you know. When we get back from touring the virtual cosmos, we will analyze your communiquι with all of our appropriate sensors, pipe it through our universal translators and likely issue an appropriate response. If a substantial period of time has passed, and you still have received no response, it is entirely possible that the tribunal has determined that no response seemed appropriate, in our impossible imagination - or, it is possible, that the most appropriate response seemed, and was thus deemed, to be one of an imaginary nature, or (in all likelihood) none at all. Please do not be discouraged by this. Space is vast - and no one has heard from Spacedog in ages anyways.