Rigel, or Beta Orionis, a bright star in the southwest corner of the constellation Orion. Rigel is a supergiant and one of the brightest stars known. In absolute magnitude it is some 50,000 times brighter than the sun. Although Rigel is a young star, it is using up its supply of hydrogen fuel at such a rapid rate that it will burn itself out in a few million years. Rigel is about 800 light-years distant from the earth.
Wolves supposedly howl at it, a fairy tale claims a cow once jumped over it and legends say if you look hard enough, there's a man in it. Yes, the moon has a prominent place in popular culture, but there's a lot you might not know about Earth's little orbiting friend. Why doesn't it have soil? Why is its gravity so important? And are we really thinking of going back soon?
We can't defy the odds of an asteroid taking a turn for Earth forever, so the world's astronomers watch the sky. What happens once they spot something?