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Summer Triangle on fall and winter evenings

09nov28

Tonight for November 26, 2015

Tonight – November 26, 2015 – look for Summer Triangle. It’s the signature star formation of summer, but you can see it in autumn, too – even in tonight’s blinding moonlight. The Summer Triangle showcases three brilliant stars – Vega, Deneb and Altair – in three separate constellations. The Summer Triangle will still shines in the western evening sky (at mid-northern latitudes or farther north). What’s more, the Summer Triangle will continue to shine after dark throughout December and January. Look for it tonight at early evening, high in your western sky.

In the month of June – around the June solstice – the Summer Triangle pops out in the east as darkness falls and shines all night long. But now – in November – the Summer Triangle appears way high in the west at evening. As evening deepens, the Summer Triangle descends westward, with all three of its stars staying above the horizon until mid-to-late evening.

EarthSky lunar calendars make great gifts for astronomy-minded friends and family.

November 2015 guide to the five visible planets

Here is the Summer Triangle asterism – three bright stars in three different constellations – as photographed by EarthSky Facebook friend Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington. Thank you, Susan!

Altair – the Summer Triangle’s most southerly star – will set around 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. tonight at mid-northern latitudes. Notice where you see the Summer Triangle at a given time this evening. The Summer Triangle will return to this same place in the sky some 4 minutes earlier with each passing day, or 2 hours earlier with each passing month.

As the Summer Triangle sinks close the western horizon around mid-evening, turn around to see Orion – the signpost constellation of winter – rising in the east.

Nils Ribi caught this photo of the Summer Triangle on a northern autumn evening - November 8, 2014.  View larger and read Nils' story of this photo.

Nils Ribi caught this photo of the Summer Triangle on a northern autumn evening – November 8, 2014. View larger and read Nils’ story of this photo.

By the way, there is a comet in the morning sky now, plowing along through the space near our sun, so far invisible to our eyes but captured on film in recent days. Comet Catalina rounded the sun on November 15, 2015 and it’s near these morning planets … below bright Venus on the morning of November 26, 2015.

The chart below is from Mark Seibold, a friend of EarthSky’s on Facebook. Thank you Mark!

Read more: Comet Catalina has two tails!

View larger at the SkyLive.com, where you can also set this chart to various dates and times.  Thank you, Mark Seibold!

View larger at the SkyLive.com, where you can also set this chart to various dates and times. Thank you, Mark Seibold!

Bottom line: Look westward this evening for the three brilliant stars of the humongous Summer Triangle: Vega, Deneb and Altair. Also, a word about Comet Catalina, which is not visible to the eye, but which many observers are capturing on film. It’s in the east before dawn.

EarthSky astronomy kits are perfect for beginners. Order yours from the EarthSky store.