Ask the Astronomerby Tucson Citizen on Feb. 07, 2009, under Local
Q: At around 9:15 p.m. I’m looking above the southern horizon of the night sky and I see a bright, multicolored star. It twinkles lots of colors. But after 20 minutes it never gets any higher into the night sky. It’s amazing to look at but what is it?
A. What you are seeing is Canopus, the second brightest actual star in the night sky. Through a telescope or even an ordinary pair of binoculars, Canopus is an interesting sight due to the refraction, or bending of its light, in our atmosphere. The lower an object is in the sky, the more its light is disturbed by our atmosphere, hence the “light show” you are seeing.