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Welcome to...

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS

"If I go crazy now, will you still call me super, man?"

Are we ready to rock and roll in yet another season? Then let's dose ourselves with some repellant lest we expire from insect-related blood loss, roll up our shirt sleeves, (open a cold beer!) and head out into the night...

Scorpius

Dominated by the brilliant red star, Antares, the constellation of Scorpius is home to two rich globular clusters. The M4, just a hop to the west of Antares... and the M80, located roughly half-way between Antares and the yellow/blue double, Graffias!

Ophiuchus

This dim constellation does hold its' treasures also... the very star-rich globular, M62, and the compact and beautiful globular, M19.

Saggitarius

If there were one constellation in which I would gladly die in its' arms... it would be Saggitarius! ;-) Where to start among all the fascinating things it has to offer? Let's start with the more popular targets, and we'll save the rest for a CHALLENGE! Directly over the "dome" of the "teapot", you will find the fascinating nebula, M8, also known as the "Lagoon". A bit higher yet will bring us to the M20, "Trifid Nebula". And above the "teapot", and almost into the constellation of Aquila lies the M17, "Swan Nebula". Fear not... for the are many more targets in my beloved Saggitarius! And when you're ready, we'll go find them...

Serpens

The indistinct shape of this constellations makes it a challenge... but knowing where the orange "giant" Arcturus is, will help sweep you on your way to the intense globular cluster, the M5!

Hercules

Ah...that fabled constellation! And within it, the very first (and undoubtedly the finest) globular cluster I ever located... the M13! Located within the "keystone", this outstanding globular will take your breath away!

Lyra

Trying not to "harp" on the subject, but the constellation Lyra is next! Every amateur astronomers is familiar with the M57, "Ring Nebula"! This mysterious smoke ring in the sky is a summer favorite, and will help "warm you up" to a CHALLENGE... And while you admire the beauty of Vega, be sure to visit the "Double-Double" star system, Epsilon Lyrae!

Cygnus

As one of the more difficult constellations to eke targets from, Cygnus does hold two that are easy enough for most seekers. At the "head" of the Swan lies the most perfect of colorful doubles, Albireo. This pair shows its' very distinctive blue/orange colors, and will become a favorite. At times, the sky may be dark enough to spot the NGC7000, the "North American Nebula". If you wish to explore, this is best done with binoculars, or a low-power, wide-field eyepiece. Or just look up! And enjoy... ;-)

Vulpecula

What a sly "fox" this one is! It may hold only one treasure, but what a fascinating target it is! A bit of map reading, and a grid pattern will eventually lead you to the M27, the "Dumbbell Nebula". This hourglass-shaped planetary will keep you amazed every time you view it!

Scutum

Scutum? Just what the heck is a Scutum, anyway? Well, it may be a pretty barren constellation, but it does hold one "gem" of an open cluster! The M11, "Wild Ducks" cluster will soon become a summer favorite!

So... have you had enough of these beautiful summer skies yet? There are many more constellations to explore, and many more deep sky targets in the ones above! Are you ready???

Then let me take you on a Summmer Starhop CHALLENGE...

--theastronomer