DR. SKY BLOG

Arizonans can catch a glimpse of famous star Canopus over next couple weeks

Mar 14, 2017, 2:31 PM
Canopus (upper right) is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. (NASA Photo)...
Canopus (upper right) is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. (NASA Photo)
(NASA Photo)

Arizona observers have a chance to see one of the most amazing stars in the sky!

The second-brightest star in the sky, Canopus, puts on a great show for us here in Arizona. It never rises for observers that are north of 37 degrees north latitude.

Canopus is only visible for a short time during these mid-March evenings, if you know where to look!

To find this historic star, look due south around 8 p.m. It is the bright star near the horizon.

You will need a clear sky free of buildings and trees to view Canopus.

Once you find this shimmering gem of a star, you are looking at a class F giant that is some 313 light years from Earth. The light that you will see this month left the star in 1704 and just arrived at Earth.

Canopus is a much larger star than our Sun — about 65 times the size and well over 14,000 times the luminosity.

Canopus lies in the constellation of Carina the Keel, which is part of on old constellation known as Argo Navis — the ship of Jason and his Argonauts — from mythology.

Canopus has always been a star of early navigators, as well as the star by which many spacecraft navigate.

Canopus is also famous, as the science fiction author, Frank Herbert, wrote of the discovery of a small planet around this star. The planet Arrakis, was the source of spice, the most important substance in the “Dune” universe.

March skies offer something for everyone! Get you very own Dr. Sky March star chart.

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Arizonans can catch a glimpse of famous star Canopus over next couple weeks