Starry Sky: Spring
Starry Sky: Spring
See the buds, feel the warmth, smell the green, Daffodils have broken through at my place at this writing at February’s end. It’s spring.
Dear renewing Spring. In the night sky the loud and raucous proliferation of stars is setting in the west as the sentinel, Sirius, bright in the west dominates. Gone are Taurus and Orion, only his faithful dog remains. The stars are fainter, the sky quieter with large areas of almost nothing going on. It’s because we stand on the milky way below and around us at the horizon line. But don’t worry it’s about to rear up again in the east, it’s sentinel is already there in the north east: Vega the bright star in the little constellation Lyra. It’s the leading edge of the summer triangle, soon Deneb and finally Altar will follow. But summer is just a hint. Spring does have it’s star and constellation magnificents. Cassiopeia is under the north star now then moving up the little dipper whose tail or handle’s end IS the north star. Next going upward is the huge big dipper and over it all and past the zenith of the sky is Leo the lion. Notice that the big dipper pointers work both ways. From them you can find the north star by going down, by going up or overhead they point to Leo. This set has been rising and it will be the main sight for this season. Remember you can “follow the arch” of the dipper’s tail and it will lead to Arcturus and keep going in roughly the same arch and find Spica. Arcturus is in Bootes made of not to bright stars and off to the east is one of my favorites: Corona Borealis a neat little “C” shape that is very distinctive though not very bright. And since I’m a virgo that’s another reason I like Spica, who is the ear of wheat in a rather shapeless maiden holds in her hand. No I’ve never really figured her out. But she is large and dim with Spica standing alone. I told you the spring sky was dim, that large southern exposure a case in point.
As the season clicks on, like the clock that it is, the whole eastern horizon, well into the north and south, will be aglow with the milky way. The darker your sky the greater the show. And by June the summer triangle in all it’s glory with grace this bright river of light with many bright stars. We’ll concentrate on these for the summer discussion. In May in the south west setting soon is the bright Capella in Auriga what I think of as a five sided kit with two tiny triangles straddling two sides. Almost due west and side by side are the Gemini twins: Caster and Pollux, the very last of winter’s stars. They stand parallel with the sunset and fade into it as May turns into June.