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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2010

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Arcturus, Lauren Cook


The image you see above is an artistic turn on the star Arcturus. Arcturus is the largest and brightest star in the constellation of Boötes, earning it the alternate title of Alpha Boötis. In terms of the rest of the night's celestial guardians, Arcturus is one of the brightest stars. The location of Arcturus is in the Local Interstellar Cloud, which is the cloud that our solar system is currently traveling through. In history, Arcturus is mentioned as early as ancient Greece, and was said to supposedly give advanced notice of less than ideal weather. The Greeks were also responsible for its current and known name. Arcturus means "the guardian of the bear," so given because it is the brightest star at the "foot" of the bear.

While the above image has taken some creative license, it accurately shows just how brightly this stars shines in comparison to other celestial bodies. The speckles you see near the bottom of the image are lesser stars, showing just how massive the star is. The colors are blown out in order to increase what the viewer gets out of the image. Rather than just a small burst, they see an array of color combinations that explore various tones and saturations. Scientifically speaking, the star bears tradition star-like qualities in its spherical shape and tendency to remain so. As gases are blown out, they maintain the ripple-like effect as they propel into space. Arcturus is approximately 36.7 lightyears away. While the approximate angular size of Arcturus appears to be 4.93, it is impossible to determine due to the artistic nature of this shot. What we are seeing is a by-product of the light and color filters used on the shot. The linear size could not be determined by this examiner. Regardless of its scientific properties, Arcturus is indeed a beautiful representation of God's creation.




Andrea Dupree, Ronald Gilliland, NASA and ESA


Various Contributors


Right Ascension (J2000) 14:16:10
Declination (J2000) +19:07:47
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds used with all filters
Date observed

March 3, 2010 at 10:12:45pm