Kuiper with the constellation Bootes


Kuiper poses with Boötes, the cookie monster constellation. This is another single exposure photo.

I have some very exciting news to share! We’ll be hitting the road next week to visit Captain Dogmerica’s cousin the Winter Pupper in St. Louis, Missouri. But that’s not all: we also received SUPER EXTRA SPECIAL PERMISSION for Kuiper to visit the Smithsonian’s Destination Moon exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center!!!!! Stay tuned for some heckin’ cool stories from Apollo 11. For now, back to our regularly scheduled astronomy:

Once you’ve managed to locate the Big Dipper, shift your gaze just a little bit out past the handle. There you’ll find Boötes chasing after it, trying to snag a beverage to go with his snack. Do you see him grabbing for the handle with one hand while he holds his cookie in the other (C is for cookie)? Ok, Boötes (pronounced “boo OH tees”) isn’t really a cookie monster. He’s a herdsman, and his “cookie” is really the Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. However, I find that sometimes making up your own stories can help you remember what to look for in the sky.?

That bright star at Boötes’ waist where his legs are sticking out is Arcturus. Archy is the brightest star in the northern summer sky, and in 1933 it (quite literally!) lit up the Chicago World’s Fair. Folks at the time thought that Arcturus was about 40 light years away. Since another World’s Fair had occurred in Chicago 40 years before, the star was chosen to symbolically link the 1933 “Century of Progress” fair with the 1893 “World’s Columbian Exposition.” The thought was that light which had departed the star during the first fair would arrive to illuminate the second fair.

At 9:15pm on May 27, 1933, a team of scientists at four observatories used their telescopes to focus light from Arcturus onto a photocell. The photocell tripped a switch which turned on floodlights at the Hall of Science opening ceremonies. The crowd went wild, and the Chicago Tribune reported the event the following day with the front-page headline “STAR SETS 1933 FAIR ABLAZE.”

We now know that Arcturus is 37 light years away rather than 40, but it’s still a sweet thought, isn’t it?

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmkWFCng5RG/

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