Friday, September 4, 2009

The Summer Triangle

September 3, 2009 [ Thursday ]

Long day at work. Didn't actually get to go outside and look till 11pm. Very short session, but very useful.

Altair, Deneb, and Vega form the summer triangle. Each one is part of a different constellation.

Deneb is almost directly overhead at this time, and is part of Cygnus the Swan, or Summer Cross. It looks like a Christian cross in the sky, though in some light polluted areas, you can't see the bottom of the cross.

Vega is part of the constellation Lyra. There are two less bright stars very close together right next to Vega, and I found them in Stellarium.

Altair is part of Aquila. Nothing special to report about this one yet.

Also found Capella peeking just above the roof of the neighbor's garage. Closer inspection found the stars next to them and matched them up in Stellarium.

Interesting to note that Vega is noted in Stellarium as mag 0.00, and Capella as 0.05. Those who know astronomy a bit, understand that when the magnitude scale for brightness was created, the brightest star was noted as zero magnitude. Less bright stars get larger magnitude numbers. Later as brighter stars were found, they were given negative numbers. Therefore, if you want to know what a star of magnitude zero looks like, just look at Vega.

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