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Sigma Canis Majoris, 22 Canis Majoris

A third magnitude orange star in the southern parts of Canis Major, Unurgunite lies between the brighter stars Wezen and Adhara, somewhat southward of brilliant Sirius in the sky. Its name Unurgunite is one of several adopted from the aboriginal peoples of Australia: in the traditions of the Boorong people, Unurgunite (or Nganurganity) is a lizard spirit who challenges the Moon, with the brighter stars on either side representing his two wives.

Unurgunite (Sigma Canis Majoris) in the south of Canis Major is flanked in the sky by two brighter stars. The pale yellow star to the northeast is Wezen (Delta Canis Majoris), while the brighter blue star to the immediate southwest is Adhara or Epsilon Canis Majoris. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

Though the faintest of the three stars in the skies of Earth, Unurgunite is in fact an intensely luminous supergiant, though its brightness is attenuated by its great distance from the Solar System: more than 1,100 light years. This is an ancient star in the last stages of its evolution. Having consumed its reserves of hydrogen, the outer shells of the star have expanded immensely, reaching a distance of nearly 2 AU from the helium-burning remnant of its core. If Unurgunite lay at the centre of the Solar System, its outer shell would extend beyond the orbit of Mars.


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