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Astro Bob

Put Canopus, Second Brightest Star, On Your Vacation Itinerary

13 Mar 2019, 17:35 UTC
Put Canopus, Second Brightest Star, On Your Vacation Itinerary
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Canopus over La Palma in the Canary Islands. Project Nightflight
Going on a vacation to the southern U.S., Costa Rica or Mexico soon? If so you have a chance to see a sight denied to everyone living north of a line from Las Vegas to Oklahoma City to Nashville — Canopus! I’ve written many words about Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, but we rarely hear from about Canopus, the sky’s second brightest star. That’s largely because it’s only easily visible from the Gulf Coast and Florida.
Canopus pokes up above the southern horizon for skywatchers in the southern U.S. Watch for it on vacation. Stellarium
Whenever I travel south in winter I make sure to look for it. You first find Sirius by shooting a line through the three belt stars of Orion toward the horizon left toward the horizon. Sirius shines pure white and brightly. Then drop a little more than three fists (36°) below and a little to the right of Sirius to find Canopus. As we learned a few days ago, a star apparent brightness is classified by magnitude with the larger the negative number the brighter the star. Sirius boasts a magnitude of –1.5 ...

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