Lingering Summer

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Lingering Summer

Summer ended almost a month ago, but some of the stars of summer are still hanging around. And some of them will remain in view until well into winter.

On the other hand, a few others are taking their final bows. Scorpius, for example, is quite low in the sky as darkness falls. Some of the stars that outline its curving body have dropped below the horizon by then, and some others are so faint that you can’t really see them. Its bright heart, Antares, should be visible for a few days longer, in the southwest. But it’s so low that you need a clear horizon to spot it.

Sagittarius, the archer, stands to the upper left of Scorpius. Some of its bright stars form the outline of a teapot. It’s tilted to the right, as though pouring its brew onto the scorpion’s tail. It will linger until around Thanksgiving.

Arcturus, the brightest star of Boötes the herdsman, is dropping lower in the west, but it, too, should remain visible through the end of the month.

After that, the only holdout is a star pattern named for the season: the Summer Triangle. Right now, it stands directly overhead as night falls, marked by the bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair. Because of their high northern latitudes, the stars are in view in the evening sky most nights of the year. And all three will remain in view well into January — bringing a bit of summer to the night skies of winter.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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