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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

June 27: Sagittarius

Sagittarius, the constellation that marks the center of the Milky Way galaxy, scoots low across the south on summer nights. Its brightest stars form the outline of a teapot, with the glowing band of the Milky Way rising from the spout like steam.

June 26: Renegade Stars

The stars at opposite ends of the Big Dipper are described as renegades. While the dipper’s other stars move through the galaxy together, the stars at the ends go their own ways. In 50,000 years, that will destroy the dipper’s shape.

June 25: Delta Lyrae

Delta Lyrae, which is about halfway up the eastern sky at nightfall, consists of two stars, one blue and one red. The colors indicate that the stars have different surface temperatures. The blue star is hot, while the red star is cool.

June 24: Saint John’s Day

Today is Saint John’s Day, an ancient festival date that marked midsummer in England. In many cultures the solstice was the midpoint of a season, not the beginning. The event was celebrated with giant bonfires the night before.

June 23: Little Dipper

The Little Dipper extends almost straight up from the North Star, Polaris, in early evening. It is part of the constellation Ursa Minor, the little bear. The dipper spans about 20 degrees, which is the width of your spread-out hand held at arm’s length.

June 22: Centaurus

Early summer is a good time to look for Centaurus, the mythological half-man, half-horse. His head and shoulders are visible from most of the United States. They stand low in the south about 90 minutes after sunset.

June 21: The Dragon

Draco, the dragon, slithers across the north on summer nights. It is high in the sky as darkness falls. It looks like a faint trail of stars wrapping around the North Star, Polaris.