Corona Borealis the Northern Crown

Mythology

Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown is, according to legend, a crown given to Ariadne in honor of her loyalty to Theseus. In ancient Athens there lived the M inotaur, a monster half man half bull. The Athenians were supposed to offer s ome of their young men and women each year to the beast, otherwise, he wou ld terrorize the city. The Minotaur resided in the labyrinth of Crete. One year, Ariadne'slover Theseus was chosen as one of the unfortunate to be offered to the Minotaur. Theseus was determined not to die and vowed to kill the monst er. Ariadne gave him a sword and a spool of thread and Theseus entered the labyrinth. He unwound the thread as he progressed into the labyrinth and wh en he came upon the Minotaur he slew the monster. Theseus used the thread to find his way back out where his loved one waited. Though he married Ariadne , he later deserted her. The gods felt pity for her and gave her a beautiful crow n which after her death, was placed in the sky.

For the Observer

The Stars of Spring

Alpha Coronae Borealis, Alphecca (15h 35m +26°43') is a 2.2 magnitude blue-white class A0 star. It is 75 light years distant. Alphecca is a spectroscopic binary which causes a variation of 0.1 magnitude. The star has a transit date of July 1st.

Beta Coronae Borealis, Nusakan (15h 25m.8 +29°17') is a magnitude 3.6 class F0 star about 100 light years distant. It is also a spectroscopic binary but the variation is very small, 0.02 ma gnitude.

Gamma Coronae Borealis (15h40m.6 +26°27') has a magnitude of 3.85 and is a class A0 star about 14 0 light years distant. The star is also a double with the companion having a mag nitude of 3.8.

Eta Coronae Borealis (15h 21m.1 +30°28') magnitude 5.02 class G2 star. This star is a binary system, difficult to view as se parate stars without a 6 inch or better telescope. The companion has a magnitu de of 6 and is also a class G star. The pair is about 50 light years distant.

R Coronae Borealis (15h47m.5 +28°19') This is an irregular variable star of the type that remai n at maximum for most of their period. This star shines at magnitude 6 for yea rs than fades to 7th to 15th magnitude in only a few weeks. The minimum lasts for a few weeks. The star appears to be a giant class F7 star and its spectrum s hows it is hydrogen poor and is composed of about 67% carbon.

Corona Borealis Galaxy Cluster (15h20m.5 +27°50') Located in the southwest corner of the constellation, th is cluster contains more than 400 galaxies, all packed into an area of sky a half degree wide! The current estimate of the distance to this galactic cluster is abo ut 1.2 thousand million light years.


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Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator
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