Astronomy Space Software - Space Tharsis Highlands logo  
Since 2001
bringing you
Stars in the Hood™
Astronomy Space Software - Space Space Software dot Net title art

Finding Our Sun in
Alien Night Skies


Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Where is our sun as seen from beyond the Pleiades?
An "Alien Skies" view from beyond the Pleiades Cluster, looking back toward home. But where is our sun?

Where is Our Sun?

Our sun is an ordinary star. Compared to many stars in the galaxy, it is not particularly bright. This may seem to be a strange statement to make, considering how bright our sun is in the daytime sky, but consider this: Take a blue, super-giant star like Rigel (Beta Orionis) and exchange places with our sun. Civilization would not last half a second. Rigel is 57,000 times brighter than our sun. Rigel would fill our sky, because it extends 78 times the width of our sun. Poor planet Mercury would not fit, but would be swallowed by Rigel's enormous volume. Rigel can be seen halfway across the galaxy, while our sun disappears from naked-eye view at one tenth of a percent of that distance. Yes, our sun is not that bright.

The view above shows an Alien Sky looking across the Pleiades Cluster back toward home. But where is our sun? At this location in our galaxy, we are still relatively close to home, but 483 light years (148 parsecs) away from Earth. At this distance, our sun could only be seen with a moderately large telescope.

Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Viewing Cube showing Pleiades and 11 Taurii.
Viewing Cube showing Pleiades and the current 'Focus' star, 11 Taurii.

A New Neighborhood

Here we are in the neighborhood of the Pleiades Cluster ("Subaru" in Japanese). We have selected the bright star, 11 Taurii, as the current "Focus" star.

Here we are about as far as we can get from home in this software. This is the edge of the frontier. Beyond this, we are no longer in the Solar vicinity.

The Pleiades is a bright, young cluster of mostly blue-white stars, each somewhat less than 100 million years of age. The stars form an asterism in the constellation Taurus, just behind the "bull" of this constellation. They appear as a tightly packed "jewel box" of scintillating gemstones.

Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Locator Cube showing location of Viewing Cube at Pleiades.
This shows the Locator Cube and the position of the Viewing Cube at the Pleiades. Notice how far it is from Sol, our sun.

Where Are We?

When you are looking only at the Viewing Cube in Stars in the NeighborHood, it remains hard to tell where you are relative to our sun. The Locator Cube makes this easy. In our current example, we can see that the Viewing Cube is located near the edge of the Solar Vicinity.

Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space Stars in the NeighborHood: Sky Map closeup showing, controls, Pleiades and our sun.
This is the same "Alien Skies" view, but with Sol (our sun) tagged with a yellow marker. Notice the "Show Sol" checkbox.

Displaying Our Sun

At a distance of 16 parsecs (52 light years), our sun is barely visible to the naked eye. This view is from more than 9 times that distance.

Viewing the Sky Map in Alien Skies mode, you merely need to check on the "Show Sol" checkbox in the Sky Map controls. Even when our sun is not visible in those Alien Skies, the yellow marker lets you know exactly where home resides.

Astronomy Space Software - Space
Astronomy Space Software - Space  
Astronomy Space Software - Return Button
Buy Stars in the NeighborHood now!
Managed by Tharsis Highlands for Space Software dot Net. Copyright © 1978–2014 Carl Martin. All World Rights Reserved
"Stars in the NeighborHood" and "Stars in the Hood" are trademarks of Tharsis Highlands.