Astronomy at Portencross Castle

I shot the above photo at Portencross while out hunting for the aurora borealis. A light from a house behind casts a shadow of a tree on to the castle walls. Portencross is a great place to gaze up to the cosmic ocean.  

The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
— Carl Sagan

The stars that shine in the Orion constellation are giant beasts. The biggest star being Beleteguese, (which isn't in this photo) is equivalent to over a million Suns. The biggest and brightest star you can see in this photo is Rigel A, which is equivalent to 74 Suns.

Rigel A is about to die. The star is only 10 million years old but it has already burnt all of its hydrogen in its core! It has also already began to swell out to between 79 & 115 times the Sun's radius. It will eventually become a red supergiant then explode into a million wee pieces as a type II supernova. Our own star will have a similar fate in about six billion years, it will expand out as a red giant once it burns all of its hydrogen. 

I have added the Orion constellation (well, part of it) and added the name of the stars, type of star, their distance both in light years and in miles. You can click to view larger.