Canis Major, a constellation of the winter sky. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is in this constellation. Canis Major rises in the east after Orion, the hunter. It is slightly below Orion, and appears near the southern horizon in the United States. A line through the three bright stars of Orion's belt leads to Sirius. In classical mythology, Canis Major (great dog) was one of the hunting dogs of Orion, and the constellation is supposed to look like a dog.
When a huge star collapses, it releases massive amounts of radiation in concentrated streams. If one of those streams hit Earth, it wouldn't be pretty. But where should we put "gamma-ray bursts" on our list of anxieties?
A look at the night sky at any time of year will reveal a faint band of light stretching across the sky -- our solar system's home, the Milky Way. How much do we really know about it?