AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Long-Term Behavior of Mira Ceti Maxima

Volume 30 number 1 (2002)

Download this article (pdf)

Costantino Sigismondi
Dorrit Hoffleit
Riccardo Coccioli


We gathered the maxima of Mira Ceti (1596-2000) in order to evaluate the frequency of two consecuitve bright apparitions. We did an evaluation of the correlation between two following maxima in order to verify the probability of occurrence of two consecutive bright maxima. Analysing the maxima of Mira, we found a probability of seeing it brighter than ? Ceti once every 21 years. In this case, as in February 1997, Mira can be detected at the first sight as a new component near the most significant asterism in its zone, and composed of ???????and ? Ceti. We found also a correlation between the magnitude of two consecutive maxima described by the linear fit: Mi+1 - Mi = -(1.10 ñ 0.08) Mi + (3.74 ñ 0.26), with R=-0.74. This study was done to test whether Mira could have been the Star of Bethlehem and fulfilled the hypothesis suggested by Kepler of a new star that appeared during the triple conjunction at 1 degree of Jupiter and Saturn that occurred in 7-6 B.C.E.