Early Summer Star Maps

A star map - The sky at dusk - July 1 2011

The sky at dusk - July 1 2011

Summer arrives as I am writing this post. In this part of British Columbia we can expect the summer drought to begin soon. It means lots of sunny days and clear skies at night. This is when many people look up and begin to wonder about all those stars. I’ve made the following maps for Canada Day, July 1, but most of these stars will be visible for weeks.

Some of the most recognizable star-patterns in this part of the sky are not the constellations. High in the eastern sky, three bright stars from three separate constellations make up the Summer Triangle: Vega, Deneb, and Altair.

The Big Dipper is not a constellation (it is part of the Big Bear), but it is so well known that it is the major guide to most of the bright stars in this region. The two stars at the end of the bowl are sometimes called the Pointer Stars because a line between them extended across the sky leads to Polaris. It is useful to know about Polaris: if you look towards Polaris you are facing within 1-degree of true North.

In the other direction, follow the arc of the handle of the Dipper down to Arcturus and spike on down to Spica.

Constellation star map - midnight July 1 2011

Constellation star map - midnight, July 1, 2011

Here is a detailed constellation map for later in the evening when the sky is darker.

These maps are thumbs… click to see full size. You are welcome to print them for your personal use (not for publication).

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