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Light from distant stars

The seasonal travelogue is complete.
ChapleGlenn
In three previous editions of this column (January 2015, July 2015, and May 2016), I described the distances to notable stars of winter, summer, and spring in terms of what was happening when each star’s light began a journey that ended at our retinas. We complete this seasonal survey with a selection of autumn stars that includes a solitary 1st-magnitude star and the quartet that makes up the Great Square of Pegasus.

Fomalhaut (25 light-years)

Fomalhaut (Alpha [α] Piscis Austrini) is sometimes referred to as the “Lonely Star” because it occupies a barren region between the star-rich fields of the summer and winter Milky Way. At a distance of 25 light-years, its light left in 1991. Decades of world tension arising from the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union were finally easing as the latter continued to dissolve. Peace was fleeting, however, because world focus now turned to the Mideast. In January 1991, the U.S. launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

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