Arcturus is one of three stars recognizable for flashing in colors, and tonight you will be able to see it! It appears at this time of the year in the evening sky. You can look for it in the west at dusk or nighttime. If you live in the mid-to-far latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, you can confirm that this star is Arcturus. This can be done once it gets nice and dark, by using the Big Dipper asterism.

The Big Dipper arc extended outward always leads to Arcturus.

Remember that the Arcturus is an orange star.

Around this time of the year, we always get asked about three different stars that have different colors. One of them is Arcturus in the constellation of Boötes the Herdsman, sparkling from west to northwest during dusk. The second one is Capella in the constellation of Auriga the Charioteer, which is now in the northeast in mid-evening. And the last one is Sirius in the constellation of Canis Major the Greater Wolf, which is now in the south before the sun rises.

All three stars seem to have flashing colors for the same cause… They are vivid and, at this time of year, notably low in the sky as viewed from areas in the Northern Hemisphere. When you see an object low in the clouds, you see it from a heavier haze than when it’s high. The atmosphere refracts or separates the light of the stars to make them glow in the colors of the rainbow.

At the mid-northern latitudes, the shimmering Arcturus adorns the western night sky throughout October.

In conclusion: On the nights of October, prepare for the bright star Arcturus in the western sky that flashes in colors. You can be assured that you have found this yellow-orange star if the Big Dipper handle points to it.

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