Night skies in Spain
Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Spain

THE PLOUGH

The Plough The Plough is said to look similar to a saucepan and handle. It can be easily found in the night sky if you look towards the north.

The two end stars of the pan are called the Pointers because they are almost in line with the northern Pole star, Polaris. In fact Polaris is slightly to the right of the extended line. There is a distance of 5 degrees between the two pointers and 30 degrees from the end pointer to Polaris.

If a curve is imagined passing through the handle and prolonged about as far as the Plough's outline it meets the red giant star of Arcturus which actually looks orange to the eye. This star has become a red giant as it is old and has burned up most of its hydrogen. Young stars are a blue white colour and medium aged stars, such as our sun, are yellow.

The middle star of the handle, known as Mizar, is actually a double star. The second, or companion star, is called Alcor and can sometimes be spotted with the naked eye.

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