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Auva, Al Awwa, Delta Virginis, 43 Virginis

A red star in the central regions of the constellation Virgo. The group of four brighter stars forming the northwestern arc of Virgo were traditionally seen as an asterism known as the Barking Dog, and from it Minelauva (which means simply 'Barking Dog') takes its name. This star falls in a part of the sky looking 'upward' through the disc of the Milky Way, in the direction of the Virgo Cluster far beyond and, in the sky, Minelauva falls near the southern edges of that distant galaxy cluster.

Minelauva itself is a red giant star a little over 200 light years from the Solar System. An old star, Minelauva has consumed its reserves of hydrogen, causing its core to collapse and its outer shell to expand immensely. Though its mass is barely greater than that of the Sun, it has a diameter nearly 50 times greater: if this star was at the centre of the Solar System, its envelope of tenuous matter would engulf Mercury and extend out towards Venus.

Minelauva is a variable star, which pulsates in brightness between magnitudes +3.32 and +3.4. It is classified as a semiregular variable, with at least five different patterns of pulses overlapping with one another, causing its brightness to shift in intricate and complex ways.


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