A thin crescent moon appears under the bright planet Venus tonight. Take a look about a half hour after sunset. The two appear just above the glow of where the sun has set and it is a pretty scene.
More and more observers will see the crescent moon in the nights ahead when it is higher in the sky. The moon is to the left of Venus tomorrow night. Both are about the same height above the horizon.
The western sky gets prettier on Sunday night when the moon is even higher in the southwestern sky, but it is also close to the ringed-planet Saturn.
There are three brilliant stars high in the sky at 9 p.m. that are often referred to as the Summer Triangle. The three stars are Vega, Deneb and Altair. They are the three principal stars in the constellations Lyra, Cygnus, and Aquila.
For those looking to get acquainted with the many stars overhead, these three stars are the starting point.
Vega is the brightest of the three and the easiest to spot. Just look up and Vega is high, not too far from the zenith. Vega is the main star in the small constellation Lyra, the harp. Vega is a close neighbor, one of the closest visible stars one can easily see. It takes light 25 years to reach us from Vega. Use Vega to find the other two.
Altair, the principal star in the constellation Aquila, the bird, is to the southeast of Vega.
Deneb, which is the main star in Cygnus, the swan, is to the northeast of Vega. Deneb and Altair and Vega form a large triangle. Deneb is closer to Vega than Altair.
The centerpiece of the Summer Triangle is the glow of the Milky Way. A good portion of the triangle is occupied by the millions of stars that make up our Milky Way. Cygnus and Aquila have a backlit glow of the Milky Way.
What is nice about these three stars is that they aren’t just summer stars. You can watch these stars well into winter.
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Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 76º F.