Thursday, June 11, 2009

the summer triangle

its summertime in the northern hemisphere which means its a good time to look for the summer triangle asterism! if you go outside as the sun sets and face east, most likely the three brightest stars you see make up what we call the summer triangle.

each star in the summer triangle belongs to its own unique constellation. altair lives in the constellation aquila (the eagle), vega is part of the constellation lyra (the harp), and deneb acts as the head of the constellation cygnus (the swan). a "constellation" is one of 88 stellar groupings officially adopted by the international astronomical union based on ancient identifications, while "asterisms" are more modern associations of stars.

happy hunting!


Billy said...

Altair is my (late) dog's star!
[not that I managed to find it again once I declared it was her star:-)]

Ed Davies said...

Deneb's not the head of Cygnus; it's the tail. That's what Deneb means (or, at least, is derived from) in Arabic. Similarly with Denebola in Leo.

Ed Davies said...

...and my favourite star is the tip of Cygnus' beak, Alberio, a beautiful double with blue and golden yellow components.