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Summer Triangle: Altair and Aquila the Eagle

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Tonight for July 17, 2014

In the east after dark, near the horizon, Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle, springs into view. This is the bottom star of the Summer Triangle.

The Great Rift of the Summer Milky Way passes through the Summer Triangle, between the stars Vega and Altair. In dark skies in late July and the first two weeks of August, you can see rich star fields with your binoculars on both sides of the Great Rift. Altair is probably best known for being the home star system of the aliens in the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet.

Summer Triangle: Vega, Deneb, Altair

The whole Summer Triangle area is great to observe with binoculars or in dark skies with just your eyes. If you like finding hidden pictures, get set to find a Coathanger, the North American Nebula (NGC7000): and Ring Nebula (M57).

Great Rift of Milky Way passes through the constellation Cassiopeia and the Summer Triangle. Click her for a larger photo

Our Summer Triangle series includes:
Vega and its constellation Lyra
Deneb and its constellation Cygnus
Altair and its constellation Aquila

July 2014 guide to the five visible planets