Corona Borealis — the Northern Crown

High in the eastern sky you will find the constellation Corona Borealis, the “Northern Crown”. It’s an almost perfect semi-circle of stars that will gradually arc across the sky from now until September. The sky doesn’t get dark early, so you’ll have to wait until at least 9:30 PM, or maybe even a little later.

You’ll find it by looking for two of the brightest stars in the sky, Arcturus in Bootes and Vega in Lyra. Arcturus is the bright orange star high in the east. Vega is the bright blue, white star low in the northeastern horizon, to the left of Arcturus. You’ll find the Northern Crown between them, but closer to Arcturus. The crown appears on its side with the opening to the left, and the top to the right.

According to Greek legend, Corona Borealis represents the crown that Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, wore at her wedding. The brightest star is Alphecca, which shines like a jewel at the tip of the crown.

To see the planets, you will have to get up in the morning before the sky gets bright. I’d say around 4:30. The full moon was on May 16, and now it will start to get a little dimmer. On May 22, it will be in its last quarter and will join Saturn in the morning. So, just look for the moon and Saturn will be just above it.

Also, in the morning Jupiter and Mars will rise together in the east with the moon just to the right of them. So, close to dawn the three will form a compact group in the ESE. When they start to rise higher, Venus will rise just below them in the east. So, have fun looking for the planets!