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Lounging in Lyra

The Harp is home to more than one famous object.
RELATED TOPICS: OBSERVING
ChapleGlenn
Do your telescopic excursions into the constellation Lyra involve a cursory glance at the Ring Nebula (M57) and then a quick departure for the bounty of the summer Milky Way? This slam-bang approach is a big mistake! This month, take time to smell the roses and devote an evening to the celestial Harp.

While your scope is adjusting to the outdoor temperature, make a naked-eye survey of Lyra. At magnitude 0.0, Vega (Alpha [α] Lyrae) is exceeded in brightness tonight only by Arcturus (Alpha Boötis), currently shining high in the west. A glance from one to the other reveals an obvious color difference. Vega, of spectral class A0, appears white; the cooler K0-type giant Arcturus is distinctly ruddy.

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