Michael Benjamin Brown


Nautical Distress Flag with applied text, 2013


Antares: Our milky way resident, a Red Supergiant star with a radius of 883 times that of our sun. Antares is the brightest star in the night sky. Solar mass approximately 15-18.

Mu Cephei: A monster star approximately 1000 times larger than our sun's solar radius. Mu Cephei is a Luminous Red Supergiant boasting a "very fine deep garnet colour" shining nearly 100,000 times brighter than our sun. Solar mass 19.2 .

P Cygni: Located between 5000-6000 light years from Earth P Cygni remained unknown until the end of the 16th century. It is a Hypergiant Luminous Blue Variable; vary rare and short-lived type of star only found in regions of galaxies where intense star formation is occurring. Solar mass 30.

VY Canis Majoris: This Red Hypergiant is one of the largest known stars by radius; VY CMa is found 3,900 light years distant from Earth. To put this star in the centre of our solar system would extend VY CMa's surface out beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Solar mass 17 +/- 8.

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An endangered ship's need for a system of communication to seek help while stranded has been obvious since the beginnings of nautical history. Sailors have long since used flags to signal their distress. Free from language constraints and glaringly obvious on bodies of water this abstract square and circle on a flag of day-glo orange has become an international standard distress call.

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