Arcturus And The Constellation Bootes with Blaine Dickey

Apr 23, 2019

The star Arcturus glows brightly in the eastern sky in the spring and summer months. It is the fourth brightest star in the sky. It has a distinct yellowish color and when noticed in the eastern sky you will know that spring is about to arrive. 

If you look towards the east on a clear night you may see Arcturus arise just a little north of east. Another way to find it is to follow the handle of the big dipper until you run into a bright star. The light you see as you look at Arcturus left the star in 1982 and is just arriving this month.

Arcturus belongs to the constellation of Bootes also referred to as the herdsman. The constellation Bootes resembles a kite with the star Arcturus located at its tail. When it rises in the east it is laying on its side, much like a kite that is waiting for a gust of wind to catch it and send it soaring into the sky.

In the summer it is high in the sky with its top end pointing northward. With binoculars, you may see two widely separated double stars which are the middle stars of the kite-shaped constellation. One of the double stars points towards Arcturus, while the other is turned 90 degrees from the first.