Summer Constellations in the Northern Hemisphere
Now is a great time to sleep out under the stars! Looking for summer constellations in the in the northern hemisphere is a great way to spend a warm summer night and the place to start your search is the Summer Triangle.
The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars that are in three separate constellations and are all inside of the Milky Way – the bright band of stars that spans the night sky. The Summer Triangle contains the stars Vega, Altair, and Deneb.
Let’s start with Vega. Vega is part of the constellation Lyra. Lyra is a small constellation that you will see directly overhead and is shaped like a parallelogram. Vega is a bluish white star that is triple the size of our Sun and one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It should be easy to find.
Next, let’s find Deneb. Deneb can be found in the constellation Cygnus the Swan, which is sometimes referred to as the Northern Cross. If you draw a straight line between the bowl stars of the Big Dipper and follow it upwards – you will find Deneb which makes up the tail of the Swan. Deneb is a super-giant star - it is 60,000 times brighter than our sun. Another interesting thing is that the beak of the Swan contains Alberio which is actually a double star.
To complete the Summer Triangle locate Altair which can be found in the constellation Aquila the Eagle. Altair is inside what would be the chest of the eagle. Altair is the brightest star in the constellation and is the twelfth brightest star in the night sky.
Congratulations! You’ve found the Summer Triangle. Enjoy the warm nights while they last. We’ve passed the summer solstice which means the nights are starting to get longer again and we’ve begun our journey to the frigid nights of winter here in the northern hemisphere!