Arcturus now settles lower in the west by dark. The second brightest star seen in the northern latitudes, Arcturus is due west at 8:00, and sets tonight in the northwest shortly after 11 o’clock. Its brightness is a combination of distance – relatively close at 37 light years away – and its size, some 26 times the diameter of our Sun.
Due west at 9:00 this evening, well above the bright star Arcturus, a semi-circle of stars, with a bright one in middle, forms the constellation Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown. The middle, somewhat brighter star goes by the name Gemma, Latin for “gem” or Alphecca, Arabic for “one in the dish”.
The Milky Way arcs across the sky from the northeast, where the bright star Capella is rising, running through the Summer Triangle overhead, and then is anchored in the southwest with the setting star Antares, the red star marking the heart of Scorpio, the Scorpion.