CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - July 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, we welcome you to go outside with your family at 9:00PM or later, once it gets good and dark, and enjoy the summer stars!

To celebrate the height of summer stargazing, find the Summer Triangle, slightly east of overhead, or perhaps directly overhead if you are out late enough.

Vega is the brightest star you'll see overhead, and is the brightest of the three stars of the triangle. Only Arcturus is brighter in the current night sky, since Sirius is too close to the Sun to be visible. Vega is the top of a small harp constellation, Lyra, which is outlined by stars - you can imagine them with a set of strings inside, playing the music of the stars!

Deneb is a bright star northeast of Vega. In Arabic, 'Deneb' means tail, and this star is the tail of the great swan Cygnus, who flies along the path of the Milky Way. Her wings are spread east and west, and her long neck stretches out to the south, pointing toward the center of our galaxy (see the June stargazing guide for using Scorpius to find the exact location of the galactic center).

Altair is a bright star southeast of Vega. It is the head of Aquila, the eagle, who flies away from the galactic center along the Milky Way.

Saturn still hangs just above the center of our galaxy, and the tail of Scorpius, near the southern horizon. If you follow the flight paths of Cygnus and Aquila northward instead, you will see the bright 'W' of the constellation Casseopeia, an Ethiopian queen in Greek mythology. In lands along the Arctic Ocean where these five bright stars never set, they are known as an elk antler (by the Sami people, in Scandinavia) or five stag reindeer (by the Chukchi people, in Siberia).

The linked star chart can help you find the cosmic harp and surrounding animals.

Note that this is the star chart for June, which is accurate at ~9:00PM currently. At 9:30PM or later, the Summer Triangle will be more directly overhead. Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!