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Actually Arcturus



I was looking back over the Gift Guide edition (Nov. 28) this evening, and read the lovely piece by David Wilson called "Lost in Space," with a photograph looking toward Trinidad. The caption of the photo speaks to the enhancement of the Big Dipper and a star identified as Polaris. It appears that the star that is enhanced is actually Arcturus, seen to the left of the dipper. We have always said "arc to Arcturus" in teaching people to follow the arc of the handle of the dipper around to spot Arcturus.

To find Polaris, one follows an imaginary line drawn upward through the "pointer stars" on what would be the right side of the dipper in the photograph. Since Polaris, the North Star, isn't all that bright, it probably wouldn't be visible yet given the lingering light of the western sky in the photo. But it would be located somewhere above the dipper, not to its left. It's possible that what is seen in the photo is a planet, but still not the northern star.

Jeni Sue Wilburn, McKinleyville

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