Brightest Stars Visible From Chicago: #3

Arcturus

The third brightest star in our countdown is ARCTURUS, the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, the herdsman. Arcturus is easy to find and is the brightest star visible in the summer months. You may know the phrase, “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” The arc of the phrase is the curving handle of the Big Dipper. So, find the Big Dipper’s handle, follow its curve (away from the bowl of the dipper) and the first bright star you come to is Arcturus.

Arcturus
Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes and the brightest star visible in summer.

I have featured Arcturus on this blog a few times. If you continue the path of the arc beyond Arcturus, you will “speed on to Spica,” which we saw earlier in our countdown. During July, the planet Mars is very close to Spica and are both quite bright. Can you tell the difference between the two? There are two main ones: color and twinkling. Mars is orange-red and does not twinkle in the sky. Spica is blue-white and does twinkle. More on this pair later.

Next: Dog days

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