Mira

Mira

[mahy-ruh]
noun
1.
Astronomy. the first long-period pulsating variable star to be discovered, with a period averaging 331 days. It is a red giant and a component of a binary star in the constellation Cetus.
2.
a female given name.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
MIRA
Media Image Resource Alliance
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

mira

first variable star (apart from novae) to be discovered, lying in the southern constellation Cetus, and the prototype of a class known as long-period variables, or Mira stars. There is some evidence that ancient Babylonian astronomers noticed its variable character. In a systematic study in 1638, a Dutch astronomer, Phocylides Holwarda, found that the star disappeared and reappeared in a varying cycle of about 330 days. It thus acquired the name Mira (Latin: Miraculous). Its brightness varies from cycle to cycle, but generally it is about magnitude 3 at maximum light and magnitude 9 at minimum. Mira is a binary; the red giant primary has a faint bluish white companion

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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