“Pop-up” stars in Boötes
July 2011: Uncover the sometimes surprising, but always intriguing, stars within the Herdsman.
May 23, 2011
One night in May 2007, as Astronomy Editor David J. Eicher, Contributing Editor Martin Ratcliffe, and I hiked across the barren lava fields of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano, I looked up at the stars (while trying not to trip) and noticed Boötes. I asked my companions to stop and gaze at magnitude 2.4 Izar (Epsilon [ε] Boötis) — first with direct vision, and then with averted eyes. In concert, both Dave and Martin said they saw a dim star next to Izar “snap” into view with averted vision.
Izar appears to have a companion in W Boötis, a semiregular variable star lying only 40' away; in fact, almost 700 light-years separate the two. Damian Peach
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