"Two Wonderful Stars of Spring: One Racing Toward Us and the Other Speeding Away!"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Apr 21-27

Arcturus is an orangeish-colored star that can be found by continuing the arc of the Big Dipper's handle toward Spica, a blue-white star.
(Shown about 11:00 PM any night this week for mid-Northern latitudes.)

Spica is moving away from us at about 2000 miles/3000 km per hour, while Arcturus is moving in our general direction at a rate of 12000 miles/19000 km per hour.  Arcturus' motion currently causes it to appear to move about one-half degree in 900 years.  Arcturus will eventually pass us and then recede, gradually becoming too faint to see with the unaided eye over the millenia.
(Arcturus is shown in its present position with its path over the next 9000 years—from A.D. 2000 to 11000—indicated in 900-year intervals.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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