Twinkle, twinkle, Arcturus!


I haven’t seen any more Iridium flares since the last post (and I’ve been watching!) but I have started learn more about the stars in the sky.  Just by reading up a bit more, installing a bunch of apps, and standing out in the driveway and/or backyard, I’m slowly learning.

For instance, I can consistently pick out the star Vega on my own now.  And a couple of others I am already better at finding.  But tonight… wow, tonight, I met Arcturus for the first time.  (I’m starstruck.  I know it.)

It turns out that Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern hemisphere’s sky.  I did think any much of it at first — it was still early enough in the evening and overcast that it was hard seeing any stars.  So any star I could find I looked at with binoculars to find what was around it.  But when I looked at Arcturus one thing stood out immediately – it was yellow.  Nothing else I had looked at seemed to have colour, so this was nothing short of a major discovery to me!  Then, when looking with my unaided eye it was actively twinkling!

With all of this observational info and a little searching on charts and online I learned that I was looking at Arcturus.  Astro Bob explained my observations the best and helped me understand more about the twinkling and the colour.

And the best part?  Arcturus is only going to get better as we get into the Fall.  Wuhhooo…. keep your eyes on the skies!

One last fun fact (at least my idea of fun!) — Arcturus is so bright that it easily shows up as a bright pinpoint of light…. even when taken on a cellphone camera.  Look centrally in the bottom third of the darkness.  You’ll likely need to open the image up to see it…. it’s a bright dot but relatively tiny.

Arcturus in September