Sci-Fi in the Sky list

Here’s your chance to visit some out of this world sights and to boldly go where no man has gone before. This list grew from a cold and cloudy night when I was studying one of my star charts and came across a star named “Keid”. Since it did not seem familiar to me, I looked it up and lo and behold it turned out that this star, better known as 40 Eridani is near the home of the Vulcans. And as they say, the rest is history. This list evolved from that moment of discovery.

I’m republishing this since I watched ‘Dune’ last night and got to thinking about Arrakis and the Atreides Empire.

Alpha Quadrant– One quarter of the Milky Way Galaxy between 180 degrees and 270 degrees: The Federation in Star Trek is largely on this side with parts in the Beta Quadrant. Tellar (61 Cygni), is here.

Beta Quadrant– Between 270 degrees and 0 degrees: Klingon and Romulan Empires are mainly here according to Star Trek. Vulcan (40 Eridani), Andoria (Procyon), and Rigel (Beta Rigel) systems are in the Beta Quadrant.

Gamma Quadrant– Between 90 degrees and 180 degrees.

Delta Quadrant– Between 0 degrees and 90 degrees. Home of the Borg Collective.

Mimas– Resembles the Death Star of Star Wars film fame although the Death Star was designed before photographs of Mimas were ever made. In the TV series Red Dwarf, Mimas is a ramshackle tourist resort on which Dave Lister is stranded. Mimas is an icy moon of Saturn and can be difficult to observe.

Titan– In Red Dwarf, Dave Lister imports a cat from Titan. Titan is the goal of a manned space mission in the movie Gattaca. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, second largest in solar system. Mag. 8.28.

Iapetus– 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dave Bowman finds a monolith on the surface of Iapetus. The film version moved the monolith to Jupiter because there were problems making a convincing model of Saturn’s ring system.
Moon of Saturn. Mag. 10.2 to 11.0

Vesta– “Marooned off Vesta” by Isaac Asimov tells the story of three resourceful men who rescue themselves after being space shipwrecked and then trapped in orbit around Vesta.
Discovered March 29, 1807 by W.M. Olbers. Vesta is the brightest of all asteroids. (It’s currently Mag. 7.2 in Capricornus.)

Eros– Ender was sent to Eros for Command School in the 1985 Orson Scott Card novel “Ender’s Game”.
Eros is a faint 12th magnitude during 2007, but will brighten to 8.1 magnitude on January 31, 2012 when it is predicted to pass Earth at 0.1790 AU.

Van Maanen’s Star– “A World Out of Time” (1976), novel by Larry Niven. Van Maanen’s Star is the first target intended for protagonist Jerome Corbell’s terraforming loop.
RA 00h 49m 09.9s
Dec. +05° 23′ 19′
Mag. (v) 12.40

Tau Ceti– In the cult classic film Barbarella, the decadent city of Sogo is on a planet in the Tau Ceti system. The planet Aurora along with its two satellites orbits Tau Ceti in Isaac Asimov’s “Robot” and “Foundation” novels.
Tau Ceti has more than ten times the amount of cometary material and dust orbiting it than our Sun, thus making it unlikely that complex life will form here.
RA 01h 44m 04.1s
Dec. -15° 56′ 14″
Mag. (v) 3.49

Alpha Ceti– Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Khan and his crew use Ceti Eels on Checkov and Terrell to escape from Ceti Alpha V. Alpha Ceti, also known as Menkar is a dying red giant that will probably become a planetary nebula.
RA 03h 02m 16.8s
Dec. +04° 05′ 23.0′
Mag. (v) 2.54

Epsilon Eridani– In Babylon 5 the space station orbits the third planet (Epsilon 3) in this system. It’s the third nearest star outside the solar system visible to the naked-eye.
RA 03h 32m 55.8s
Dec. -09° 27′ 29.7″
Mag. (v) 3.73

Omicron Persei– In Futurama, the animated television series, the Omicronians claim to be from Omicron Persei VIII located 1000 light-years from Earth. Living in the 31st century, the Omicronians receive and are fans of 21st-century television broadcasts from Earth. Omicron Persei is a spectroscopic binary in Perseus.
RA 03h 44m 19.1s
Dec. +32° 17′ 18′
Mag. (v) 3.83

40 Eridani– In the Star Trek fictional universes 40 Eridani A is the location of the Vulcan home planet.
The primary star of 40 Eridani is an orange main sequence dwarf of spectral type K1, observed to be about 4 billion years old. The two companion stars, 40 Eridani B, is a 9th magnitude white dwarf (spectral type A VII) and 40 Eridani C is an 11th magnitude red dwarf (spectral type M4e V).
40 Eridani (also known as Omicron2 Eridani, or Keid) is located in Eridanus.
RA 04h 15m 16.3s
Dec. −07° 39′ 10″
Mag. (v) 4.43/9.52/11.17

Aldebaran- (Alpha Tauri)– In the “Forever War” by Joe Haldeman, mankind’s first contact with aliens occurs near Aldebaran. Aldebaran marks the Bull’s Eye in Taurus and takes 2 years to spin.
RA 04h 35m 55.2s
Dec. +16° 30′ 33′
Mag. (v) 0.85

Kapteyn’s Star– Mentioned in the Kate Orman novels Doctor Who as the home system to dozens of species that occupy terrestrial and aquatic ecological niches. Dr. Who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running science fiction TV series in the world.
Kapteyn’s Star orbits the Milky Way Retrograde.
RA 05h 11m 40.6s
Dec. -45° 01′ 06′
Mag. (v) 8.85

Alnilam- (Epsilon Orionis, 46 Orionis)– Alnilam is the home of the aliens in the movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Alnilam is the 30th brightest star in the sky (4th brightest in Orion) and is a blue/white super giant.
RA 05h 36m 12.8s
Dec. −01° 12′ 06.9″
Mag. (v) 1.70

Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)– Ford Prefect’s (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) home planet is near here. It’s the second brightest star in Orion and ninth brightest in the sky. Although it is designated “alpha” it is not as bright as Rigel. One of the physically largest stars known.
RA 05h 55m 10.3s
Dec. +07° 24′ 25′
Mag. (v) 0.3 to 1.2

Canopus (Alpha Carinae)– The planet Dune, also called Arrakis, is the third planet from Canopus.
Canopus is often used by American space probes for navigational purposes, using a special camera known as a ‘Canopus Star Tracker’ along with a ‘Sun Tracker’ camera.
RA 06h 23m 57.1s
Dec. -52° 41′ 45″
Mag. (v) -0.72

47 Ursae Majoris– The Coyote (2002-2005) novels of Allen Steele take place on Coyote, a habitable moon of 47 Ursae Majoris b. 47 Ursae Majoris is a yellow dwarf star about 46 LY distant with two extrasolar planets.
RA 10h 59m 28.0s
Dec. +40° 25′ 49′
Mag. (v) 5.03

Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) – In the film Aliens, Arcturus is a planet the space marines visited for furlough. Third brightest star in sky.
RA 14h 15m 39.7s
Dec. +19° 10′ 57′
Mag. (v) -0.04

Proxima Centauri– In Futurama the animated television series, there’s a sign floating in space that reads,
‘PLUTO – Last restroom before Proxima Centauri’.
Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri system, the nearest star to our Sun.
RA 14h 29m 43.0s
Dec. -62° 40′ 46′
Mag. (v) 11.05

Alpha Centauri– In the Lost In Space TV series, Alpha Centauri is the intended destination of the United States spacecraft Jupiter 2 launched October 16, 1997 and crewed by the Robinson family and Major Don West. Stowaway Dr. Zachary Smith sabotages the mission on behalf of a foreign government sending the ship off course.
Alpha Centauri is naked-eye as a single point, but is actually a triple system of stars.
RA 14h 39m 36.5/35.1s
Dec. -60° 50′ 02.3/13.8′
Mag. (v) -0.01/1.34/11.05

Alkalurops– (Mu Boötis, 51 Bootis) – Ix is the ninth planet from Alkalurops and the source of high technology in the Legends of Dune prequels.
Alkalurops is a triple star system 121 LY from Earth. The primary component is a yellow/white Type F sub giant. 108 arc seconds from the primary is the binary star Mu2 Bootis 7.2 and 7.8 magnitude.
RA 15h 24m 29.4s
Dec. +37° 22′ 38′
Mag. (v) 4.31, 6.51

Mu Draconis– Arrakis is an alternative name for the star Mu Draconis. Arrakis is the desert planet setting of Frank Hebert’s “Dune”. Mu Draconis is a binary star in Draco. The nearly identical yellow-white stellar pair each has magnitudes of 5.8 with a combined magnitude of 4.92.
RA 17h 05m 19.7s
Dec. +54° 28′ 134″
Mag. (v) 5.8/5.61

36 Ophiuchi– From Frank Hebert’s “Dune” the planet Giedi Prime orbits 36 Ophiuchi B.
36 Ophiuchi is a triple star system 19.5 LY from Earth.
The primary and secondary are near identical orange main sequence dwarfs KO/K1.
The tertiary is an orange main sequence dwarf K5.
RA AB: 17h 15m 21s
C: 17h 16m 13.4s
Dec. AB: -26° 36′ 10′
C: -26° 32′ 46′
Mag. (v) 5.05/5.08/6.34

Barnard’s Star– In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, Barnard’s Star is a way station for interstellar travelers.
Barnard’s Star is a Red Dwarf star in Ophiuchus near the celestial equator with a high proper motion. It rotates once every 130 days. If it replaced our Sun, it would only shine 100x brighter than the Full Moon.
RA 17h 57m 48.5s
Dec. +04° 41′ 36′
Mag. (v) 9.57

Chi Draconis– Chi Draconis A was home to the Minbari, an alien race in Babylon 5.
Chi Draconis is a star system in Draco
The first companion is a yellow/white 4th magnitude class F star.
The second companion is an orange class K 6th magnitude star.
RA 18h 21m 03.4s
Dec. +72° 43′ 58″
Mag. (v) 3.68 / 5.67

Vega (Alpha Lyrae) – In Carl Sagan’s science fiction novel and film adaptation of “Contact” Earth receives a message from an extraterrestrial transmitter array orbiting Vega.
It is the nearest solitary white dwarf. Located 14.1 ly from the Sun.
RA 18h 36m 56.3s
Dec. +38° 47′ 01″
Mag. (v) 0.03

Rukbat (Alpha Sagittarii) – Rukbat is Pern’s star from the “Dragonriders” novels by Anne McCaffery. Alpha stars are normally expected to be the brightest in their constellation but Rukbat is a counter example since it shines at mid fourth magnitude behind Epsilon Sagittarii at second magnitude. Rukbat is a blue class B dwarf star.
RA 19h 23m 53.2s
Dec. -40° 36′ 58′
Mag. (v) 3.96

Tarazed (Gamma Aquilae) – In the Andromeda, television series. Tarazed is the provisional capital of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.
Tarazed has a diameter of half an AU.
RA 19h 46m 15.6s
Dec. +10° 36′ 48′
Mag. (v) 2.72

Altair (Alpha Aquilae) – The planet Altair IV is the main setting of the film Forbidden Planet and home of the Krell who were eradicated in a single night by a machine that would instantly make whatever they thought. Home of Harlan an artificial life form in Stargate SG-1.
Altair is the brightest star in Aquila and marks the vertex of the summer triangle.
RA 19h 50m 47.0s
Dec. -08° 52′ 06′
Mag. (v) 0.77

61 Cygni
In Clifford D. Simak’s “Time and Again” a planet orbiting 61 Cygni is inhabited by life forms that exist in a symbiotic relationship to us-they are our destiny. 61 Cygni is a double star system with a high proper motion. It was christened the “Flying Star” by Guiseppe Piazzi in 1792.
RA 21h 06m 54.0/55.3s
Dec. +38° 44′ 57’/31′
Mag. (v) 5.20/6.05

Epsilon Pegasi (Enif)– It’s the location of “Enif Station” in the computer game Descent FreeSpace.
Epsilon Pegasi is a dying orange supergiant that has an apparent oscillatory motion of the faint star when the telescope tube is gently rocked perpendicular to the line joining both stars. Similar unequal pairs exhibit this “pendulum effect”.
RA 21h 44m 11.2s
Dec. +09° 52′ 30.0″
Mag. (v) 2.38

Osiris– The most likely location of Simon and River Tam’s family estate in the Firefly television series.
Osiris is the Informal name of HD 209458 b an extrasolar planet discovered spectroscopically on November 5, 1999 orbiting the Sun-like star HD 209458 in Pegasus. HD 209458 is visible with binoculars.
RA 22h 03m 10.8s
Dec. +18° 53′ 04″
Mag. (v) 7.65

Fomalhaut (Alpha Piscis Austrini)– In the Joe Haldeman novel “The Forever War” Fomalhaut is the name of a planet near a collapsar.
Aka the Lonely Star of Autumn since it is the only first magnitude star in the autumn sky for mid-northern latitude observers.
RA 22h 57m 39.1s
Dec. -29° 37′ 20″
Mag. (v) 1.16

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