I was out walking the other night around 11 o’clock when I noticed a new bright star poking through the trees low in the northeastern sky. For a moment I couldn’t figure it out, and then it came to me. Arcturus.
Arcturus is a traditional spring-early summer star as that’s when it’s highest in the sky. But winter’s the time it first appears in the east as the midnight hour approaches. Arcturus is an orange-giant star 25 times larger than the Sun 36 light years from Earth.
If you’ve ever wondered how it might look in our sky, Russia’s Federal Space Agency or Roscosmos, has created a series of fun and instructive simulations of several familiar stars,including Arcturus, in place of the Sun.
While the Sun takes about two minutes to set once it touches the horizon, Arcturus’ massive disk would extend some13° across and require 52 minutes. Watching an Arcturian sunset would be a major time commitment reserved for weekends only.
Here are several other new stellar perspectives. In all, except perhaps Alpha Centauri, the Earth would roasted in the stars’ blazing heat and radiation. Keep that in mind as you take in the sights.
Here’s the whole works and more in a video in Russian. Enjoy! Tomorrow the fun continues when we’ll take a look at substituting planets and moons for the Sun.