Weekend Sky Report
Jun 14, 2019
The full moon and a very bright Jupiter pair up Sunday night.
Jun 07, 2019
The moon is amazing with even a little magnification.
May 31, 2019
Use bright Vega to find an ancient constellation.
May 24, 2019
And now for two bright stars... and how to find them.
I'm Matt Pelsor, and this is your Weekend Sky Report.
Arcturus and Spica are two of the brightest stars in the northern hemisphere, so they're not hard to see... but if you're new to Astronomy, you can use this mnemonic device to find them: Arc to Arcturus, and Spike to Spica.
Here's what I mean...
First, find the Big Dipper, then follow the curve of the handle, or arc that it makes to bright orange-white Arcturus. From there, continue that same direction, but with a more laser-straight line to bluish white Spica.
Arc to Arcturus, then spike to Spica.
Arcturus is just slightly more massive than our sun, but it's more than 25 times larger, and more than 150 times brighter. This is because it has entered the next stage of its life... all of its core hydrogen has been used up and it's puffed up to many times its original size. The same thing will happen to our sun in a few billion years.
Spica makes up the right hand of the constellation Virgo. In some interpretations, it represents an ear of wheat in Virgo's right hand. It's easily the brightest star in the constellation... and actually, it's two stars.
Spica is a spectroscopic binary... meaning it's two stars that are so close together, you can't split them with a telescope. Because they're so close, they orbit each other very quickly. Each orbit takes only 4 days. What's more, the gravitational forces each star has on the other makes them more egg-shaped than spherical. But again, you won't be able to tell that from looking at it through a telescope.
When you find Spica, you'll be looking at a star almost 2000 times brighter than our sun.
I'm Matt Pelsor... happy skywatching.
May 17, 2019
It's a full moon this weekend...so what are we seeing when we look at the moon?
May 10, 2019
The moon returns to the evening sky this weekend.
May 03, 2019
Use Vega to find that other globular cluster in Hercules.
Apr 26, 2019
Arcturus leads us to one of the oldest objects in the galaxy.
Apr 19, 2019
Test your eyesight with the Big Dipper.
Apr 12, 2019
See the galaxy that gave us our first look at a black hole.
Apr 05, 2019
Use Arcturus to find this big star cluster.
Mar 29, 2019
Bright Sirius marks an easy-to-find deep sky object.
Mar 22, 2019
There's a brilliant star cluster hiding in Cancer, The Crab.
Mar 15, 2019
Leprechaun eyes can trick us into seeing green stars.
Mar 08, 2019
Celebrate International Women's Day by looking up this weekend.