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    Northern Cross: Backbone of Milky Way

    On summer evenings, look for this star pattern in the east, sideways to the horizon.

    Photo of Summer Triangle stars, and their constellations, annotated.

    Find the Summer Triangle

    On June and July evenings, you’ll find the Summer Triangle in the east at nightfall. It swings high overhead in the wee hours after midnight and sits in the west at daybreak.

    Come to know the Big and Little Dippers

    The Big Dipper is easy. And, once you find it, you can find the Little Dipper, too.

    Pleiades star cluster, aka Seven Sisters

    The Pleiades star cluster – aka the Seven Sisters or M45 – is visible from virtually every part of the globe. It looks like a tiny misty dipper of stars.

    How to see the Great Square of Pegasus

    It’s easy! The Great Square of Pegasus consists of 4 stars of nearly equal brightness in a large square pattern. Once you find it, you can star-hop to other well-known sights in the sky.

    Find the Teapot, and look toward the galaxy’s center

    With the moon waning now, it’s time to go out in the country to witness the glorious Milky Way. Want to locate the direction to the galaxy’s center? This post points the way.

    Find the Crown of the Scorpion

    Here’s a cool asterism, or noticeable pattern of stars, to look for in your sky. The Scorpion’s Crown consists of just 3 stars.

    Antares is the Heart of the Scorpion

    Bright red Antares is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius and represents the Scorpion’s Heart.

    Coathanger: Looks like its name

    The Coathanger star cluster resembles its namesake and is easy to spot through binoculars. Use the star Albireo – part of the Summer Triangle – to find it.

    Alpha and Beta Centauri, pointing to Crux.

    Northerners’ guide to Southern Cross

    The Southern Cross climbs highest – due south – in the evening around now. Latitudes like Hawaii can see it. It’s possible to see from latitudes like the far-southern contiguous U.S., but difficult.

    Line drawing of SpringTriangle and Sickle

    Look for the Spring Triangle

    It’s still winter in the Northern Hemisphere. As the cold days slowly get longer, a sure sign of spring is already in our skies.

    Hyades star cluster: Face of Taurus

    Meet the bright star Aldebaran, part of a V-shaped pattern of stars called the Hyades. This easy-to-find star cluster represents the face of Taurus the Bull.

    See the Winter Circle, or Hexagon

    Whether you call it a Circle or a Hexagon, it’s a big circular pattern of stars in the night sky. Its stars are some of the brightest up there.

    Use Southern Cross to find due south

    From the Northern Hemisphere, a fairly bright North Star marks the direction north. From the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross points the way south.