mardi 2 septembre 2008

Aquila 6

α Aquilae

The name "Altaïr" is Arabic for "the bird", from the phrase الطير. The spelling "Atair" is also used frequently. The name was given by Arabic astronomers and adopted by Western astronomers.
In Chinese, it is officially known as 河鼓二 (Hégǔ'èr, the Second Star of the Drum at the River, or more literally, Riverdrum II). However, it is more famously known as its other names: 牵牛星 or 牛郎星 (the Star of the Cowherd), after the Cowherd in the Chinese mythology: the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl; the star's Japanese name of Hikoboshi derives from this same myth.

Is the brightest star in the constellation Aquila and the twelfth brightest star in the nighttime sky, at visual magnitude 0.77. A groundbreaking study with the Palomar Testbed Interferometer revealed that Altair is not spherical, but is rather flattened at the poles due to its high rate of rotation. Synthetic aperture techniques with multiple optical telescopes have imaged this phenomenon.

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