Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

263,575 subscribers and counting ...

Find Vincent van Gogh’s Big Dipper

Here’s an easy astronomy lesson, from a master in the art of loving nature.

View larger. | Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone, via Wikipedia.

Just for fun …. You know this painting? It’s Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone, painted in September 1888 at Arles, France. See how it contains the famous asterism known as the Big Dipper? MoMALearning commented about van Gogh’s art:

Largely self-taught, van Gogh produced more than 2,000 oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketches, which became in demand only after his death. He also wrote scores of letters, especially to his brother Theo, in which he worked out his thoughts about art. ‘Always continue walking a lot and loving nature, for that’s the real way to learn to understand art better and better,’ he wrote in 1874. ‘Painters understand nature and love it, and teach us to see.’

So here’s an easy lesson, from a master. Look for the Big Dipper in van Gogh’s painting, and then look for it in your night sky. It’s one of the easiest star patterns to identify, and March and April are good months to see it. From latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, the Big Dipper is now ascending in the northeast during the evening hours.

Read more: Big and Little Dippers

Bottom line: Look for the stars of the Big Dipper in the painting Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh.

EarthSky

MORE ARTICLES