Arcturus, the Guardian of Ursa Minor

Yesterday, the day of the summer solstice, when it started getting dark around 22:30, I went out of the house, looked up to the sky and there, in the West, it was the star Arcturus. I always know that summer has begun when I can see early in the night this star. Of course, I could have known it using any other star, but Arcturus is special to me.

 The window of my bedroom in my parents’ house in the village is in the West side. When I was a little child and didn’t know anything about astronomy, in hot summer nights, I used to sleep with the window opened to get the night air cool the room and I contemplate the clear summer sky and the stars through it. But a star shone more than the rest, shone like a lamp, shone with an intensity that I thought it was so close to us that I could reach it with my hands… And I thought that star had to be Arcturus. One day at school, the teacher told us something about planets and stars and said that Arcturus was the guardian of the Ursa Minor. I liked that of ‘guardian of the Ursa Minor’, so I happily assume that the star I watched trough my window was Arcturus. And I found, years later when I started to develope my interest for astronomy, that, in fact, that star that I have been contemplating during summer for years, was Arcturus. So every year, when summer comes, I look for Arturus in the sky and wave hello again.

(Originally written on 22/6/2013)


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