The star Omicron Ceti, the prototype Mira star or long-period variable. It was first observed by D. Fabricius in 1596, and was originally believed to be a nova. It was found to be periodic by the Dutch astronomer Jan Fokkens (Latinized as Johannes Phocylides) Holwarda (1618–51) in 1638, and was named Mira (Latin for ‘Wonderful’) by J. Hevelius. Mira has a period of 331.96 days, a range of 2.0–10.1 mag., and is a red giant of spectral type M5e–M9e. Its diameter is 400–500 times that of the Sun. It forms a binary with VZ Ceti, a white dwarf that is accreting material from the giant's stellar wind. Mira is 300 l.y. away.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.