Tonight, look for a constellation that’s easy to see on the sky’s dome, if your sky is dark enough. Corona Borealis – aka the Northern Crown – is exciting to find. It’s an almost-perfect semicircle of stars. You’ll find this beautiful pattern in the evening sky from now until October.
The constellation Corona Borealis is located more or less along a line between two bright stars, Arcturus in the constellation Boötes the Herdsman and Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp.
You’ll need a fairly dark sky to see Corona Borealis between Vega and Arcturus. It’s a semicircle of stars and very noticeable.
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 semicircle, 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.
Bottom line: Look for Corona Borealis – the Northern Crown – between the brilliant stars Arcturus and Vega tonight! This constellation is very noticeable, if you have a dark sky.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.
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