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Summer Triangle and smallest constellations

The Summer Triangle consists of three bright stars – Vega, Deneb and Altair – in three separate constellations. If you can find the Summer Triangle, you can use it to locate three of the sky’s smallest constellations: Vulpecula the Fox, Delphinus the Dolphin and Sagitta the Arrow.

All three would be impossible to see from the city.

If you’re up for a binocular challenge, try finding the Coathanger asterism in Vulpecula.

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2018

Sky chart of the Summer Triangle and small constellations

Once you're familiar with the Summer Triangle, star-hop from there to the nearby small constellations. Click here for a larger chart

July 2017 guide to the bright planets

On the other hand, the little constellations Delphinus and Sagitta are very distinctive. They’re easy to see in a dark country sky, because both actually look somewhat like the objects/creatures for which they’re named. Delphinus is supposed to be the Dolphin that carried a Greek poet – Arion – safely away from his enemies. Sagitta is sometimes considered to be an arrow shot from the bow of Hercules.

Summer Triangle: Vega, Deneb, Altair

Our Summer Triangle series includes:

Part 1: Vega and its constellation Lyra

Part 2: Deneb and its constellation Cygnus

Part 3: Altair and its constellation Aquila

Deborah Byrd