A Russian satellite could soon be the brightest ‘star’ in the night sky

Depending on where you are in the world and when, the brightest star in the night sky is likely to be the binary star Sirius, also known as Alpha Canis Majoris. But that could soon be about to change, if an amateur Russian satellite is launched mid-2016 as planned.

The satellite is called Mayak, or “beacon” in English, and it’s designed to orbit opposite the Sun and reflect its light using giant sails, making it appear brighter to us than any other stars in the night sky – and, according to some reports, potentially even brighter than the Moon. The satellite itself won’t actually be doing any observations or scientific work, the goal of the project is quite simply to inspire humanity by creating an artificial ‘star’ that we can look up to, and the engineers behind it have already raised more than US$22,000 (1.7 million rubles) on Russian crowd-funding site, Boomstarter.

“We are sending a spacecraft into orbit that will be the brightest star in the sky, visible from any point on our planet,” project leader Alexander Shaenko, head of the Contemporary Cosmonautics program at Moscow State Mechanical Engineering University, told Sputnik News. “We want to show that space exploration is something exciting and interesting, but most importantly that today it is accessible to everybody who is interested.” Source: A Russian satellite could soon be the brightest ‘star’ in the night sky

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