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Sat, 09 Jan 2016 - Z UMa and T UMa approaching maximum

Two variable stars located near the 'bowl' of the Plough are currently approaching maximum.

The semi-regular variable star Z Ursae Majoris passed through minimum (around mag 9.5) during the autumn and had brightened to around mag 7.9 by the end of 2015. It is expected to brighten further and to reach maximum during February.

You can follow its brightness changes using this finder chart (approx 11 deg x 8 deg), which also labels a number of useful comparison stars  (A = 6.3 , B = 7.3, C = 7.5 , D = 7.9).

The Mira type variable T Ursae Majoris is a bit fainter - it was around mag 8.8 at the end of 2015, but should brighten somewhat as it approaches maximum, which is expected to occur in the second half of January.

You can follow the brightness changes of T UMa using this finder chart, which is approx 7 deg x 4 deg.

 

Added by: Tracie Heywood