If you look east during April and May after about 10pm (UK time) you’ll see a semicircular arc known as Corona Borealis in between the large constellations of Hercules and Boötes.
I’ve become quite an avid stargazer recently and download a chart each month that shows me all the constellations and stars. I’ve become quite addicted in fact as I never knew there was so much up there. Some I knew like the Big Dipper and Orion, but most I’d never heard of. Including this small one, Corona Borealis.
When I was young I remember reading that the light from some stars takes so long to reach Earth, that by the time our eyes register it, the stars it came from don’t even exist anymore.
That blew my mind! It meant the universe was big. Very big. And when I look up at the sky now, I never forget that fact. It’s so immense, so utterly big, that even thinking about it makes my head hurt. And as you probe deeper and deeper, reading about the stars and clusters and galaxies, you realise how amazingly small we really are. Smaller than we think.
Which brings me back to Corona Borealis. I’ve read so much about the Corona virus over these last few weeks, that when I looked at my April star chart, the first thing my eyes picked up was the word “Corona”.
Corona, Corona, Corona. Once I knew it only as a beer. Now, it’s a virus and a constellation. What next?
I was planning to write a long sweeping piece on humankind’s folly. But I just don’t have it in me at the moment. Let’s face it, a lot has already been written on the subject; it’s unlikely I can add anything more.
Maybe the only thing I can advise is to look up at the stars tonight. See if you can see Corona Borealis. I mean what else are you going to do now the pubs are all shut…