Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stars on the mountain

After hiking all day and being well fed, we retired to the rocking chairs on the deck of the lodge we were staying in.  As darkness grew we could see town lights off in the distant valleys.  And then the stars began to appear.  Just a few at a time.  Eventually there were enough stars for us to locate the Constellations Cygnus and Cassiopeia.  After quite a bit of looking we found the North Star and the handle of the Big dipper just above the lodge roof (the dipper was hidden by the roof).  It was hard to pick out the Little dipper due to all the stars in the sky.  And as it continued to get darker more and more stars became visible.  Here is an interesting bit of astrological trivia; while Cygnus and Cassiopeia are Constellations, the big and little dippers are asterisms.  

Someone asked about the 'Summer triangle' (another asterism) but no one knew where it was in the sky.  I now know how to locate the Summer triangle.   The triangle is made by three stars from three different constellations:  Deneb is the brightest star in the Constellation Cygnus.  Vega is part of the small Constellation Lyra.  Altair is part of the Constellation Aquila.  

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