The Summer Triangle

Stars of the Summer Triangle

There are more than a few stars in our Galaxy. The light from many of them combines to appear as a wisp of faint light across the night sky - the Milky Way.  In the northern hemisphere, away from city lights and during the summer months, part of the Milky Way can be seen behind the Summer Triangle of stars - Deneb, Vega, and Altair.  These are the brightest three stars in the above photograph, listed from left to right, respectively.  If you could collect light in your eyes for ten minutes at a time (instead of the usual 1/10th of a second), you might see something like the above photograph.  Behind the Summer Triangle lies some of the vast star fields of our Milky Way Galaxy, containing literally billions of stars.  The dark band across the middle that seems to divide the stars is actually interstellar dust, which absorbs more visible light than it emits and so appears dark.

Text and Photograph by Andy Steere

Mr. Steere does not make clear that The Summer Trangle is not the name of a constellation, but rather a descriptive term, or in astronomy, more properly, an asterism—a grouping, or cluster of stars—which describes the area within the grouping of the three stars, Deneb, Vega, and Altair.  Each of these is actually the parent star of its own, separate constellation.  A little exploration on your part will reveal those constellations and show that there is more in the Milky Way than interstellar dust behind the three foreground stars of the Summer Triangle.




Text is Copyright © Silkscape Arts - All rights reserved

Web design by