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Seeing double (and triple) in the spring sky

30 Apr 2019, 06:50 UTC
Seeing double (and triple) in the spring sky
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The Northern Hemisphere constellation of Boötes (pronounced Bo-oh-tees), the Herdsman, is prominently placed during spring nights and easily located due to its brightest star, Arcturus. Boötes is home to a number of attractive double and multiple stars labelled in red and described in the article below. This is an extract of a much larger chart that you can download and print by clicking on the graphic. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.If you’re bemoaning the current dearth of bright planets in the evening sky, or light pollution prevents you from viewing a multitude of spring galaxies, don’t give up – there are always some attractively coloured double and multiple stars up there. What’s more, you can observe prominent double stars in deep twilight or when the Moon is up. However, for some of the close doubles that follow, you will need a night when the seeing is good to see them clearly resolved.
As explained in an earlier observing story, around half of the stars in the vicinity of our Sun that appear singular to the naked eye are actually members of double or multiple systems when viewed through a telescope. Two gravitationally-bound stars, each orbiting their common centre of gravity, ...

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