Earth and the Moon

Stargazing Basics

What are some useful star patterns to know when stargazing in the summer and autumn?

The Summer Triangle is an asterism that is very useful for locating summer and autumn constellations in the northern hemisphere. Even though it is called the Summer Triangle, it is still visible in the early evening as late as November. Its three bright stars trace a long isosceles triangle stretching toward the celestial equator: Vega, the brightest star in Lyra (the Harp); Deneb, the tail of Cygnus (the Swan); and Altair, the eye of Aquila (the Eagle). Deneb is also the top star of the Northern Cross, a large asterism traced by six of the brightest stars in Cygnus.


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