The spring brings the most recognized non-constellation, the Big Dipper. It’s a part of the much larger star picture of Ursa Major. The bowl stars from the Bear’s back and belly. From the star Dubhe, faint stars extending westward from the bowl make up the Bear’s neck and head, while five stars curve below (to the south) to form one of its front paws. Extending below the bowl star Phecda are other faint stars that represent its hind legs.
With the campfires of summer, the stars shift allowing a view of the Summer Triangle, three brilliant stars – Vega, Deneb, and Altair. They are set in a large triangle. Like the Big Dipper, it’s not an official constellation but just an interesting pattern among the stars. The three stars in the triangle actually belong to three separate constellations. The brightest star, Vega, is a brilliant blue-white star that glistens like a diamond within the constellation Lyra the Lyre, the mythical instrument of Orpheus. Altair, the triangle’s southernmost star, lays within Aquila the Eagle, marking the beak of the bird. Finally, the third star in the Triangle is Deneb, representing the tail of Cygnus the Swan. Always among the best of late summer is the Perseid meteor shower. So called since the origin, or radiant, of the shower is within the constellation Perseus.
The fall months bring opportunities to witness meteor showers as well, with November’s Leonid and December’s Geminid.
“The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun.” – Read My Mind by The Killers,