Summer nights are short, beginning late and ending early. But the backyard observer will find a wonderful cache of celestial treasures among the constellations that adorn the summer Milky Way. Star clusters and nebulae abound. The core of the summer sky is Cygnus, a constellation soaring gracefully overhead. It's brightest star is Deneb at the tail of the mythical swan. Deneb is also a the head of the Northern Cross asterism with Albireo, a beautiful double star, at the foot of the cross. Vega, the brightest of the summer stars, shines in Lyra. Aquila, the eagle, features brilliant Altair as its brightest member. Together, Deneb, Vega and Altair form an asterism we call the Summer Triangle. Hercules, the strong man, hoists this magnificent scene upon his shoulders. The links below will take you to illustrated star hops to each of the summer delights plotted on the above chart.
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Revised: February 4, 2002 [WDF]