Reach for the Stars/Stars and DSOs

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The Reach for the Stars Star and DSO lists specify which stars and Deep Sky Objects are covered in the event in a particular year. Teams are expected to be able to identify these objects on star charts, HR diagrams (where applicable), planetariums (where applicable), or other forms of display. Teams should also be knowledgeable about the evolutionary stages of these stars and objects.


These are the stars from the 2016-2017 list (not in alphabetical order). With multiple-star systems, the Apparent/Absolute Magnitude is the combined Apparent/Absolute Magnitude of the stars:

2017 Stars
Name Images Spectral Type Constellation Magnitude Distance Coordinates External Links
Apparent Absolute Right Ascension Declination
Altair Altair1.jpg A7V Aquila 0.76 2.22 16.73 ly 19h 50m 47s +08° 52′ 06″
Altair is a main sequence star in the constellation Aquilla, and makes up one of the stars in the Summer Triangle. This Delta Scuti variable star has a such a high rate of rotation that its equatorial diameter is significantly larger than its polar diameter. Additionally, it exhibits luminosity pulsations between 0.8 and 1.5 hours. A mere 16.7 light years away, this star is visible without the aid of telescopes or other equipment.
Capella Capella1.jpg K0III/G1III Auriga 0.08* -0.48 42.9ly 05h 16m 41s +45° 59′ 53″
RS CVn Variable Star, a close binary system whose apparent magnitude varies from +0.03 to +0.16.
Arcturus Arcturus1.jpg K0III Boötes -0.05 -0.30 36.7 ly 14h 15m 40s +19° 10′ 56″
Red giant star.
Sirius Sirius 1.jpg A1Vm/DA2 Canis Major -1.46 1.42 8.60 ly 06h 45m 09s −16° 43′ 06″
Brightest star in the night sky. A binary system with Sirius A, a main sequence star, and Sirius B, a white dwarf with Apparent Magnitude 8.44 and Absolute Magnitude 11.18. The name "Sirius" is derived from the Ancient Greek "Seirios", meaning "glowing" or "scorcher".
Procyon Procyon1.jpg F5IV-V Canis Minor 0.34 2.66 11.5 ly 07h 39m 18s +05° 13′30″
Main sequence star with faint white-dwarf companion.
Deneb Deneb1.jpg A2Ia Cygnus 1.25 -8.38 802 ± 66 pc 20h 41m 25.9s +45° 16′ 49″
Blue-white Supergiant.
Castor CastorPollux1.jpg Gemini 51 ly 07h 34m 36s +31° 53′ 18″
Triple Star system.
Pollux K0III Gemini 1.14 1.08 33.8 ly 07h 45m 19s +28° 01′ 34″
Giant star.
Regulus Regulus.jpg B8 IVn Leo 1.40 -0.52 79.3 ly 10h 08m 22s +11° 58′ 02″
Four star system. Values above are only for Regulus A.
Vega Vega1.jpg A0Va Lyra -0.02-0.07 (0.026) +0.582 25 ly 18h 36m 56s +38° 47′ 01″
Suspected Delta Scuti Variable. Northern pole star around 12,000 BC.
Zeta Ophiuchi ZetaOph1.jpg O9.5 V Ophiuchus 2.57 -4.2 366 ly 16h 37m 10s –10° 34′ 02″
Blue main-sequence star at the start of its life.
Betelgeuse Betelgeuse1.jpg M1-M2 Ia-ab Orion -5.85 643 ± 146 ly 05h 55m 10s +07° 24′ 25″
Semiregular Variable Star.
Rigel B8 Ia Orion 0.13 -7.84 860 ± 80 ly 05h 14m 32s −08° 12′ 06″
Blue Supergiant with Blue main-sequence companion.
Algol Algol1.jpg B8V/K0IV Perseus -0.07 90 ± 3 ly 03h 08m 10s +40° 57′ 20.3280″
Multiple star system with a pair of eclipsing Variable stars. Counter-intuitively, the lower-mass star is leaving the main-sequence earlier.
Antares Antares1.jpg M1.5Iab+B2.5V Scorpius 0.6-1.6 -5.28 550 ly 16h 29m 24.5s −26° 25′ 55″
Red Supergiant with Orange main-sequence star companion.
Aldebaran Aldebaran1.jpg K5III Taurus -0.86 -0.64 65ly 04h 35m 55s +16° 30′ 33.5″
Orange Giant Star.
Mizar MizarAlcor1.jpg A2Vp Ursa Major 2.27 0.33 86 ± 4 ly 13h 23m 55.5s +54° 55′ 31″
Visual double with Alcor.
Alcor A5Vn Ursa Major 3.99 2.00 81.6 ly 13h 25m 13.5s +54° 59′ 17″
Visual double with Mizar.
Polaris Polaris1.jpg F7Ib/F6V Ursa Minor 1.98 -3.6 323-433 ly 02h 31m 49.1s +89° 15′ 50.8″
Current Northern pole star; Multiple Star system with Yellow Supergiant orbiting a smaller companion; Cepheid Variable star.
Spica Spica1.jpg B1 III-IV/B2 V Virgo 0.97 -3.55 250±10 ly 13h 25m 11.6s −11° 09′ 40.8″
Binary star system with a blue giant (beta cepheid variable) and a blue main-sequence star; a spectroscopic binary and rotating ellipsoidal variable; 22400 Kelvin.

Deep Sky Objects

These are the Deep Sky Objects (DSOs) from the 2017 list, not in alphabetical order. Each combined image often contains the DSO in multiple wavelengths, sometimes examining different sections of the object. Information about the individual images can be found by clicking on the combined image.

2017 Stars
Name Images Object Type Constellation Apparent Magnitude Distance Coordinates External Links
Right Ascension Declination
NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula) HelixMultiFreq.png Planetary Nebula Aquarius 7.6 714 ly 22h 29m 39s -20° 50′ 14″ [1] [2] [3] [4]
A planetary nebula that will become a white dwarf. Helix nebula is not a simple helix, but has two nearly perpendicular disks, as well as arcs, shocks, and features not well understood.
NGC 3603 3603Collage.jpg HII Region with an open cluster Carina 9.1 6900pc 11h 15m 23s -61° 15′ 00″
The nebula was first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834.
NGC 3372 (Carina Nebula) CarinaCombined.jpg Star Formation Region Carina +1.0 ~6500-10000ly 10h 45m 08.5s −59° 52′ 04″
The Carina Nebula is located in the Carina-Sagittarius Arm. It was discovered by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille on January 25th, 1752. The nebula consists of open clusters, O type stars and Wolf Rayet variable stars.
Cassiopeia A (Cas A) CasACollage.jpg Type IIb Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia Radio/X-Ray 11 kly 23h 23m 26s +58° 48′
Visible light from the remnant was blocked, probably due to interstellar dust. Its discovery was first reported by Ryle and Graham-Smith in 1948, although it may be recorded by Flamsteed in 1680.
Tycho's SNR TychoCollage.jpg Type Ia Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia Peak −4 8000-9800 ly 0h 25.3m +64° 09′
The supernova appeared in November 1572. Tycho Brahe did extensive work observing the stars and analyzed sighting from his colleagues.
Cygnus X-1 CygX1Collage.jpg Black Hole Cygnus 8.95 6,100 ± 400 ly 19h 58m 21.7s +35° 12′ 05.8″
A source of x-ray. It is the first widely accepted black hole to be an x-ray source such as itself. It was discovered in 1964 and is located about 6,070 light years from the sun. Cygnus X-1 is a member of a high-mass X-ray binary system. It is about 5 million years old and rotates once every 5.6 days.
30 Doradus (Tarantula Nebula) 30DoradusCollage.jpg H II Region Dorado 8 160 ± 10 kly 05h 38m 38s −69° 05.7′ [5] [6] [7]
Also known as the Tarantula Nebula. It is found in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and has a magnitude of 8.
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) LMCOptical.jpg Galaxy Dorado/Mensa 0.9 163.0 kly 05h 23m 34.5s −69° 45′ 22″
A satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The first mention of the galaxy was by Persan Astronomer 'Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi around 964 AD, while Magellan observed it in 1519.
Geminga GemingaCollage.jpg Neutron Star (Pulsar) Gemini 25.5 815 ly 06h 33m 54.15s +17° 46′ 12.9″ [8]
Geminga is likely a decaying core of a Type II Supernova. It is highly visible in the gamma-ray spectrum.
NGC 602 602Collage.jpg Open cluster Hydrus 15.44p 196 kly 01h 29m 32.1s −73° 33′ 38.1″ [9] [10]
Open cluster found in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
M57 (Ring Nebula) RingCollage.jpg Planetary Nebula Lyra 8.8 2.3 kly 18h 53m 35.08s +33° 01′ 45″ [11] [12]
Planetary Nebula discovered by Messier in January 1779.
Kepler's SNR KSNRCollage.jpg Type Ia Supernova Remnent Ophiuchus Peak -2.25 - -2.55 20 kly 17h 30m 42s −21° 29′ [13] [14]
Appeared in 1604. It was first observed by Colomb in October 1604, while Kepler tracked the object for an entire year and published a book on the subject.
M42 (Orion Nebula) OrionCollage.jpg Diffuse Nebula Orion 4.0 1,344±20 ly 05h 35m 17.3s −05° 23′ 28″
Contains a very young open cluster known as the Trapezium.
Segittarius A* SgrACollage.jpg Black Hole Sagittarius Radio ~7860 pc 17h 45m 40s −29° 0′ 28″
Radio source at the center of a galaxy, and location of a supermassive black hole.
M17 (Omega Nebula) OmegaCollage.jpg H II Region Sagittarius 6.0 5-6 kly 18h 20m 26s −16° 10′ 36″
Also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula and the Horseshoe Nebula. First recorded observation by Chéseaux in 1745, and catalogued by Messier in 1764.
M8 (Lagoon Nebula) LagoonCollage.jpg H II Region Sagittarius 6 4100 ly 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″
Interstellar Cloud.
M16 (Eagle Nebula) EagleCollage.jpg H II Region Serpens 6 7 kly 18h 18m 48s −13° 49′
First observed by Cheseaux in 1745-46.
M1 (Crab Nebula) CrabCollage.jpg Supernova Remnant Taurus 8.4 6500±1600 ly 05h 34m 31.94s +22° 00′ 52″
The center of the nebula contains Crab Pulsar, a neutron star.
T Tauri TTOptical1.jpg Variable Star Taurus 10.27 ~600 ly 04h 21m 59.43s +19° 32′ 06.42″
The prototype of all T Tauri variable stars. It was discovered in October 1852 by John Russell Hind. T Tauri appears from Earth amongst the Hyades cluster, but is actually 420 light years behind it and was not formed with the rest of them. T-Tauri stars have similar temperature compared to the main sequence star they will become, but are larger and therefore more luminous. They will follow the Hayashi Track onto the main sequence.
Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) SMCLMC.jpg Galaxy Tucana and Hydrus 2.7 200±9 kly 00h 52m 44.8s −72° 49′ 43″
Dwarf galaxy near the Milky Way. It was once a barred spiral galaxy, but was dirupted by the gravity of the Milky Way.

Past Objects

Objects which previously were included in the list, but have been replaced, are provided here.



Gliese 581- Gliese 581 is a red dwarf, M3V star about 20 LY away. The star has an apparent magnitude between 10.56 and 10.58 and is located in the constellation Libra. The star is well known for its planet Gliese 581 g, thought to be in the habitable zone of its star, but the planet's existence is disputed.

Mira (o Ceti)- The famous variable star Mira is located on the "tale" of Cetus. It is a binary star, with the red giant Mira A and its companion Mira B. Nearly 7000 other stars are classified with the variable type "Mira", named after the star. The star fluctates between apparent magnitude 2.0 all the way down to the faint 10.1 magnitude. Mira is a red giant star with the spectral type M7. Recently, astronomers have been studying the transport of gases nearly 70 AU from Mira A to Mira B.

Proxima Centauri- At only 4 light years, Proxima centauri is the nearest star to the sun. It is a type-M red dwarf star, and despite its distance, it is too dim to see with the naked eye, at magnitude 11.05. Proxima Centauri is part of a triple star system with its brighter neighbor Alpha Centauri A and B. It is a flare star, a variable type that changes brightness drastically.

Deep Sky Objects


Andromeda Galaxy (M31, NGC 224)- About 2.5 million LY away, the Andromeda Galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. In fact, it is one of the relatively few galaxies that are approaching the Sun, causing the light from its 1 trillion stars to be blue-shifted. With an apparent magnitude of 4.4, it's one the brightest Messier objects in the nighttime sky. The Andromeda Galaxy has a double nucleus: P1, a brighter nucleus with lots of reddish, cool stars, and P2, a supermassive black hole at the very center of the galaxy with more bluish, hotter stars. There was one recorded supernova in 1885. The name comes from the fact that the Andromeda Galaxy appear to be in the constellation Andromeda from our vantage point on Earth.

Beehive Cluster (M44, Praesepe (Latin: manger), NGC 2632)- An open cluster in the constellation Cancer- possibly of similar origin to the Hyades- the Beehive Cluster is about 600 million years old. It spans 510-620 LY across, with big bright stars towards the center of the cluster and smaller, dimmer stars on the outside fringes. M44 contains red giants, main sequence stars, and white dwarfs; about 68% of the stars are M-class, 30% F, G, or K-class, and about 2% A-class. The brightest individual stars have an apparent magnitude of about 6 to 6.5, while the Beehive Cluster as a whole is about 3.1.

Cassiopeia B (Tycho's SNR)- A supernova remnant, left over from a supernova detected in November 1572 which remained highly visible for 2 years, then faded. The supernova resulted from a white dwarf accumulating too much matter and exploding. It is called Tycho's SNR after the astronomer Tycho Brahe, who was the most accurate observer of the supernova itself.

Globular Cluster (M13, NGC 6205)- A globular cluster (hence the name) about 25,100 LY away and 145 LY across in the constellation Hercules. M13 has several hundred thousand stars, but is barely visible from Earth, with an apparent magnitude of 5.8. Its brightest star is V11, which has an apparent magnitude of 11.95.

Hyades Star Cluster- The Hyades are the closest open cluster to us at 151 LY away, located in the constellation Taurus. The 4 brightest stars in the Hyades (formerly A-class stars, now off the main sequence) form a V shape along with Aldebaran. It could share a common origin with the Beehive Cluster (M44). The name is from ancient Greek mythology- Hyades was the collective name of several weeping sisters who were turned into stars and therefore associated with rain.

Milky Way Galaxy ("The Galaxy")- A barred spiral galaxy in the Local Group (which, in turn, is in the Virgo Supercluster) about 100,000 LY in diameter and 1,000 LY thick. Of the 200-400 billion stars in this galaxy, most are red dwarfs. The oldest ones are 12.8-14.4 billion years old. The galactic center is in the general direction of the constellation Sagittarius- in fact, Sagittarius A* is a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. It could collide with the Andromeda Galaxy in 3-4 billion years. The Milky Way can be seen as far north as Cassiopeia and as far south as Crux (the Southern Cross).

Pleiades (M45, Maia Nebula)- Another open cluster in the constellation Taurus; one of the closest to Earth at about 440 LY away. Most of the stars in M45 are hot, blue stars formed in the last 100 million years or so, but there are also some brown dwarfs. The cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, then be dispersed by gravity. The name Pleiades is from Greek for either "sailing ones", "many", or "flock of doves".

Whirlpool Galaxy (M51, NGC 5194)- A red-shifted galaxy (moving farther away from the Sun) in the constellation Canes Venatica about 23 million LY away, the Whirlpool Galaxy is famous for its distinct spiral shape. This is thought to be caused by interaction between M51 and a nearby galaxy, NGC 5195. There is also thought to be a black hole at the very center of the galaxy. In 2005, a supernova was detected in the Whirlpool Galaxy with highest apparent magnitude 14.

See Also

Reach for the Stars