Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moderate success: The Summer Triangle, the Dippers and Cassiopeia

As for finding Serpens Cauda and Scutum, there was no way. They are small constellations of not the brightest of stars hanging out south of my treeline in the brightness of the moon in a neighborhood where even the darkest spots have quite a bit of light pollution. So I focused on finding things that I already knew where they are. I found the little dipper (with the North Star about half-way up the sky in the north), the big dipper (to the west of the little dipper), and Cassiopeia (the W-shaped constellation currently to the east of the little dipper). These constellations have one thing in common - they are all circumpolar, which means they never go below the horizon. They circle the North Star without ever setting.

I also took a look at the Summer Triangle. I can find it fairly easily, but I always have trouble figuring out which of the three stars is which. Unfortunately, I couldn't see many of the other stars in the three constellations, so I had to look at my star map to figure it out.

Altair is the star farthest south. Deneb can be located more to the east, and Vega more to the West. About 11:00, Vega is highest, almost straight up. This picture is as if you are looking to the south.

Tonight the plan is SLEEP. I am tired and have an appointment in the morning. I'll have a fun astronomy fact for tomorrow, though. Be sure to check back in!

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