The Summer Triangle: A Heavenly Landmark For Stargazers

The Summer Triangle: A Heavenly Landmark For Stargazers

The winter night sky is relatively easy to navigate around, especially using the distinctive constellation of Orion as our guide. The summer night sky, on the other hand, is a little trickier and we must rely on Ursa Major, as well as an asterism of stars in the sky known as the Summer Triangle, to help us  locate many of the constellations in the summer skies.

The Summer Triangle is not a constellation in itself, but takes the brightest stars from three surrounding constellations to form a huge isosceles triangle in the night sky, which then acts a heavenly landmark for stargazers.

In order of brightness, The Summer Triangle consists of the bluish-white star Vega in Lyra (the Harp), the yellow-white Altair in Aquila (the Eagle), and the white Deneb in Cygnus (the Swan). During summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, these stars are often the first you see in the early evening eastern sky and by midnight appear virtually overhead. In the autumn, The Summer Triangle can also be seen to the west of the evening sky up until November when it subsequently disappears from view.

The Summer Triangle: A Heavenly Landmark For StargazersOnce you have found The Summer Triangle, on a dark night you may be fortunate enough to view a misty cloud of stars running through it, which is actually the spiral arm of our own Milky Way galaxy. Unfortunately, however, the Milky Way is difficult to view outside of rural areas free from light pollution.

Finally, once you have managed to find The Summer Triangle, this celestial marker can then be used to quickly locate many other constellations in the summer skies. This include the nearby constellations of Hercules, Draco (the Dragon), Delphinus (the Dolphin), Sagitta (the Arrow), Vulpecula (the Fox), Ophiuchus (the Snake Holder), Serpens (the snake), Scorpius (the scorpion) and Sagittarius (the Archer).

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