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October's Star of the Month: Arcturus

Did You Know That...

you can extend the natural ARC of the Big Dipper handle to find ARCturus, the brightest star in our Northern Hemisphere?
at Halloween Arcturus sets and rises at the same time and the same place on the horizon as the summer Sun?
at Barrow, Alaska, Arcturus neither rises nor sets, but simulates the arctic midnight Sun of summer?
the starlight of Arcturus powered the floodlights at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago?
to the eye, Arcturus shines 113 times brighter than the Sun? ...in other words, that at the Sun's distance from us, Arcturus would shine 113 times brighter than our Sun - and that at Arcturus' distance, the Sun would be 113 times dimmer than Arcturus?
on October 1, at 7:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (and four minutes earlier every day thereafter), Arcturus stands at zenith, or directly overhead at Hawaii? You can compute your distance from Hawaii by noting the star's distance from your zenith at this time.*
* for instance, from Philadelphia, PA, Arcturus stands at an altitude of 19 and 1/3 degrees, or a zenith distance of 70 and 2/3 degrees. (Altitude + zenith distance = 90 degrees.) Multipy 70.67 times 69.2 miles to determine that Philadelphia is 4,890 miles away from Hawaii as the crow flies.

by Bruce McClure

Stars of the Month Page

October 2002 Feature: Arcturus