“Keely’s Star”

Keely & I wanted to have a star to call our own so I have been scanning the skies to decide on a constellation that would be visible to both of us for much of the year. And after much teeth grinding and paw wringing, I settled on ‘The Hunter’, Orion.

Orion is located on the celestial equator and is one of the most conspicuous and recognisable constellations in the night sky. This prominent constellation will be visible to us both at some time during the night for most of the year, the exception being May – July when it will appear in the daylight sky.


Having chosen the constellation, I then narrowed my search for the right star. The choice wasn’t too difficult – the occasion being Valentine’s Day, I could not go past the 8th brightest star in the night sky, Betelguese.

Betelguese (Alpha Orionis) – representing Orion’s right shoulder – is a bright red supergiant star also known as the Valentine’s Day Star.


I then contacted the International Star Registry and arranged for the star to be renamed “Keely’s Star”. And on Valentine’s Day,  I presented my love with a Star Certificate recording the name change. Her very own star !

Star Certificate

Keely’s Star is about 10,000 times brighter than our sun and about 650 times the diameter. In fact, if we were to replace our sun with Keely’s Star, it would engulf our planets out to the orbit of Mars! Impressive enough, but in its heyday the Star would have reached Jupiter.

Keely’s Star is a massive star as well. It may contain as much as 20 times the mass of the sun. But because of its large mass, it is a star that will run through its life history fairly violently and quickly – the star has already consumed the bulk of its hydrogen fuel in the core; it is shedding vast bubbles of gas into space and is on the way to a stellar graveyard.

It is thought that at the moment the Star is switching to helium, carbon and other elements in a series of partial collapses, refuelings and restarts, but someday soon (astronomically speaking) it will run out of fuel, collapse under its own weight, and then rebound in a spectacular supernova explosion. When this happens – could be tomorrow or a few hundred thousand years from now – Keely’s Star will brighten enormously for a few weeks or months, perhaps as bright as the full moon and be visible in broad daylight. (In fact, when you consider that it takes 640 years for the light from Keely’s Star to reach us, the supernova might already have happened!)

Your easy to use guide to the night sky in your area:

Link to The Sky Tonight (United Kingdom) – http://www.astronomy.co.uk/skytonight

Link to Stardate (USA) – http://stardate.org/nightsky

Link to The Sky Tonight (Australia) – http://aswa.info/nightsky.html

Link to Astronomy NZ (New Zealand) – http://www.astronomynz.org.nz/the-night-sky/the-night-sky-2.html