There’s a constellation on this chart that’s easy to see on the sky’s dome, if your sky is dark enough. Corona Borealis – doesn’t look like much on this chart, but in a dark sky it’s exciting to find – an almost-perfect semi-circle of stars.
Corona Borealis is also known as the Northern Crown. It’ll be arcing across the sky in the evening from now – mid-May – until about September.
The constellation Corona Borealis is located more or less along a line between two bright stars, Arcturus in the constellation Bootes the Herdsman and Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. In the east-northeast in mid-evening, you’ll see Arcturus fairly high in the east, noticeable for its brightness and yellow-orange color. Vega will be low on the northeastern horizon – bright and blue-white in color. The Northern Crown is more or less between these two bright stars. It’s a semi-circle of stars – very noticeable in a dark sky.
The brightest star in Corona Borealis is Alphecca, also known as Gemma, sometimes called the Pearl of the Crown. The name Alphecca originated with a description of Corona Borealis as the “broken one,” in reference to the fact that these stars appear in a semi-circle, rather than a full circle. Alphecca is a blue-white star, with an intrinsic luminosity some 60 times that of our sun. It’s located about 75 light-years from Earth.
Look for the Northern Crown between the brilliant stars Arcturus and Vega tonight!