Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June 2021

    It's a bit of a quiet week on the astronomy front, so I'm going to take the opportunity to explain how you find an area of the sky known as the "Summer Triangle". The triangle contains various deep sky objects that we can talk about another time, but for now let's just find the thing!

    Face towards the east a little after sunset. You are looking for three of the brightest stars in the night sky - Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus, Vega in Lyra and Altair in Aquila. If you then draw an imaginary line between these stars - this is the Summer Triangle.

    Getting technical, the Summer Triangle is known as an "asterism".

    A constellation is a formally-named area of the sky containing all sorts of celestial objects and is often described as representing a mythological person or animal. The familiar shapes are produced by "joining the dots" of the major stars within the area.

    An "asterism" is just a pattern or group of stars that can be seen in the night sky.

    The Summer Triangle has been used as a name since the 1800s, but it was popularised by the late Sir Patrick Moore in the 1950s. The US Air Force called it the "Navigator's Triangle".....no prizes for guessing what they used it for!

    Image courtesy of Stellarium
    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021

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