Monday, October 11, 2004

Respite -- Part 2

I watch the sun burn a hole through morning haze and think of the very last line of Walden: "The sun is but a morning-star."

What is certain is that the Sun is but a star. In our neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy -- within a dozen light-years, say -- there are about 25 stars. The Sun is fourth brightest, after blue-white Sirius A, white Procyon A, and our near twin, yellow Alpha centauri A.

Most of our neighbors are tiny red dwarf stars, barely massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion. The big stars burn like bright birds in a berry bush.