A Great Tool for Stargazing
A great tool for stargazing is my Sacred Sky Worksheets. They include four pages, one for each season–winter, spring, summer, and fall.
The stars move throughout the night, appearing in different locations (or out of sight) at different times throughout the night. The worksheets show what can be seen in the evening sky each season. Near the north pole, the constellations appear to be making a circle around the north pole. Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper are like riders on opposite sides of a Ferris Wheel. The spin around Polaris once a day.
You can download my Sacred Sky Worksheets here. Print them off and if you learn all the constellations on the worksheets, you will be able to recognize twenty constellations.
The summer evening sky has three bright stars which are called the “summer triangle”. Once you locate this triangle, you can find Cygnus (the swan), Aquilla (the eagle), and Lyra (the lyre). Cygnus contains the bright star Deneb. You can locate Deneb by first finding the Big Dipper and then extending a line through the two stars of the Dipper’s bowl near the handle. The other bright stars in the triangle are Vega (in Lyra) and Altair (in Aquilla).
Although the stars are dim, on a clear night you may be able to locate Hercules, shaped like a keystone, and located just to the west of the summer triangle. The big group of stars below Hercules is Ophiuchus, the Serpent-Holder. The sky picture for Ophiuchus is actually showing two constellations–Ophiuchus and Serpens.
I went out in my yard last evening and I found the summer triangle, but when I looked for the Big Dipper to confirm Deneb, clouds moved in and I could not find it. However, the swan’s stars were bright and I could see the long body and the wings.