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Arcturus, Ghost of Summer Sun


A star often mistaken for a planet, scintillating Arcturus at this time of year hovers over the northwestern horizon at evening dusk, and over the northeastern horizon in the morning dawn. Arcturus' twin billing, which premiers annually starting in middle October, poses as a faithful harbinger of Halloween.
Arcturus, ghost of summer sunIf you could only see Arcturus at midday on October 29, you'd see the star way above (or due north) of the Sun, perched where the Sun is at high noon in summer. However, with summer's passing, the Sun has migrated south with the geese; and the Sun, as a consequence, spends less time above the horizon, giving us the shorter days and longer nights of autumn.
Conversely, the further north the Sun (or star) resides, the more time the orb spends above the horizon, as is beautifully displayed by Arcturus' shining presence. By watching this yellow-orange jack-o'-lantern of a star through the autumn chill, you can envision the absent summer Sun radiating extra hours of warm sunshine. Not till after dark does Arcturus finally set, an echo of long summer afternoons; similarly, Arcturus rises before dawn's first light, a phantom reminder of early morning daybreaks.
Certainly, Arcturus' Halloween masquerade of the summer Sun counts as both a trick and a treat!


Copyright 2002 & 2004
by Bruce McClure


Arcturus Tidbits