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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


From The Alps To Australia To Europe And More, Cold Is Wreaking Havoc Globally

1. Alaska’s fourth cold winter in a row Alaska was once seen as a beacon of hope in the AGW coal mine: but after four cold winters in a row, culminating in a historically cold winter season in 2022-23, the…

Snowpack predicted to retreat in California’s mountains due to climate change

This winter’s major storms laid down one of the largest snowpacks recorded in California’s Sierra Nevada, along with an unusual amount of snow at low mountain elevations. But such prolific snowfall at lower elevations is set to become increasingly rare…

The Northern Crown is a beautiful star pattern in May

Northern Crown: Six bright stars in bowl shape against a starry sky, Alphecca noticeably brighter.
Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, with its brightest star Alphecca. In fact, this time is year is perfect to see this semicircle of stars in the evening sky. Image via Fred Espenak/ AstroPixels. Used with permission.

The Northern Crown graces the summer skies

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. In fact, it’s easy to pick out as an almost-perfect semicircle of stars. And you’ll find this beautiful star pattern in the evening sky from now until October.

Plus, the constellation Corona Borealis is easy to find since it’s located more or less along a line between two bright stars. The first is Arcturus in the constellation Boötes the Herdsman and the second is Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp.

Star chart showing stars Vega and Arcturus in corners and small semicircle of stars between them, all labeled.
After nightfall and in the early evening, you’ll see Arcturus fairly high in the east, noticeable for its brightness and yellow-orange color. Next, look for Vega rather low in the northeast. It’s a bright blue-white star. Then look for the Northern Crown between these 2 bright stars. However, it’s closer to Arcturus.

But you’ll need a fairly dark sky to see Corona Borealis between Vega and Arcturus. Then, once you find the semicircle of stars, it’s very noticeable.

The brightest star of the Northern Crown

The brightest star in Corona Borealis is Alphecca, also known as Gemma, sometimes called the Pearl of the Crown. As a matter of fact, the name Alphecca originated with a description of Corona Borealis as the “broken one.” This was 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. And it’s located about 75 light-years from Earth.

Grid with dots and lines showing star patterns.
The C-shaped – or semicircle – constellation Corona Borealis shines between the constellations Boötes and Hercules. Image via IAU. Used with permission.

Some images from our EarthSky Community Photos

Man on rooftop of city looking at outlines of several labeled constellations drawn onto night sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Prateek Pandey in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, captured this photo of Boötes, Virgo and Corona Borealis on March 5, 2021. He wrote: “Spring constellations twinkling in the eastern horizon.” Thank you, Prateek!
Kite-shaped Boötes with star Arcturus at its
View at EarthSky Conmmunity Photos. | Dr Ski in Valencia, Philippines, caught this photo of Arcturus and its constellation Boötes next to the Northern Crown on May 24, 2019. Thanks, Dr Ski!

Bottom line: Look for Corona Borealis – the Northern Crown – between the brilliant stars Arcturus and Vega tonight! In fact, this constellation is very noticeable, if you have a dark sky.

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Vega is a bright bluish star on May evenings

Vega: Densely starry sky with detailed Milky Way and 3 extra-bright stars well separated.
The 3 brightest stars in this image make up the asterism of the Summer Triangle, a giant triangle in the sky composed of the bright stars Vega (top left), Altair (lower middle) and Deneb (far left). Also in this image, under a dark sky and on a moonless night, is the Great Rift that passes right through the Summer Triangle. Image via NASA/ A. Fujii/ ESA.

Vega shines brightly on May evenings

Look for Vega tonight. It’s the 5th brightest star in our sky. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll find beautiful, bluish Vega easily, simply by looking northeastward at mid-evening in May. Vega is so bright that you can see it on a moonlit night.

From far south in the Southern Hemisphere, you can’t see Vega until late at night in May. That’s because Vega is located so far north on the sky’s dome. Vega will reach its high point for the night around three to four hours after midnight, at which time people in the Southern Hemisphere can see Vega in their northern sky. As seen from mid-northern latitudes, Vega shines high overhead at this early morning hour.

Because it’s the brightest star in the constellation Lyra the Harp, Vega is sometimes called the Harp Star. Like all stars, Vega rises some four minutes earlier each day as Earth moves around the sun. So Vega will adorne our evening sky throughout the summer and fall.

It’s visible most nights from mid-northern latitudes

Although Vega is considered a late spring or summer star, it’s actually so far north on the sky’s dome that – from mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere – you can find it at some time during the night, nearly every night of the year.

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Constellation Lyra with bright blue-white star Vega, and other interesting objects in Lyra marked.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Here’s Vega (and Lyra) as seen around 3 a.m. from Valencia, Philippines, on May 10, 2019, from our friend Dr Ski. See Vega’s beautiful blue color? Notice the star near Vega, marked with the Greek letter Epsilon. This star is Epsilon Lyrae, a famous double-double star.

Bottom line: If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, Vega is easy to identify in its constellation Lyra at this time of year. Just look northeast in the evening hours for a bright, bluish star above the northeastern horizon.

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How a dying glacier became a tourist attraction – The Washington Post

HUASCARÁN NATIONAL PARK, Peru — The path to Pastoruri glacier is grueling. At more than 15,000 feet above sea level, the wind is fierce and the sun unforgiving. Although the trail isn’t steep, I find myself gasping for breath in…

Even as he prepares to leave office, Jay Inslee is pushing for climate action – The Washington Post

When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced this week he would not seek a fourth term in 2024, he listed multiple accomplishments he was proud of over the past decade. But atop that list, he said, was that his state…

Oregon climate change El Nino snowpack Cascades Coast weather – Statesman Journal

In a few decades, the Willamette Valley might feel like California, droughts and floods could be more commonplace and 100-degree days may be par for the course.   The next year could provide a preview of what’s to come. That’s according…

Leonardo’s Ferry Left High and Dry by Global Warming and Red Tape – The New York Times

A ferry used to traverse the banks of the Adda River, in northern Italy, but drought and an abundance of bureaucracy has closed it down. On a recent sunny morning on the banks of the Adda River in northern Italy,…

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