Star Arcturus: Ghost of Summer Sun

star arcturus 1

 (The cover of an old, and really cool, coloring book.)

Arcturus is considered the “ghost of the summer sun.” The reason is because every year on Halloween, and for a few days before and after, this brilliant star mimics the rising and setting of the sun during its prime time in the summer. For the next few evenings after dark, Arcturus will set at the exact same time and place as does the sun during the “dog days.” Then before dawn, it will rise again in the exact same time and place as the summer sun did as well.

By watching this star in late October, you can envision the absent summer sun radiating its extra hours of sunlight. Not till after dark does this star set, an echo of long summer afternoons. And when Arcturus rises in the east before the October sun dawns, it’s a phantom reminder of early morning summer day breaks.

Fascinatingly, if you live as far north as Barrow, Alaska, the star Arcturus shines all night long, also mimicking the midnight sun of summer.

According to EarthSky, You can verify that you’re looking at Arcturus once the Big Dipper comes out. Its handle always points to Arcturus.

Star arcturus 2