The reason Mira is so remarkable is that it is an unusually dimorphic variable star - it fluctuates every 331 days flip-flopping from tenth-magnitude (invisible without a telescope) to third-magnitude.

What would have made this wonderful (as per its translation) to the ancients is that it would have appeared to them to be a star regularly (well, predictably) appearing and disappearing - something that immutable objects in the perfect celestial spheres weren't supposed to do!

Singlehandedly refuting the Aristotlean concept of the universe, Mira went on to have a successful singing career, covering such hits as "Swinging on a Star", "When you wish upon a star", "Twinkle twinkle little star" and, in a risqué image-revamping move plotted by its publicist, "Starfuckers Inc."

Mi"ra (?), n. [NL., from L. mirus wonderful.] Astron.

A remarkable variable star in the constellation Cetus (ο Ceti).

 

© Webster 1913.

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