Summer, at least astronomically, is two weeks old. The sun, moving along its path among the celestial sphere, reached its highest point in our sky on June 20th. The bad news is that the sun’s maximum midday altitude has already fallen slightly, and dare I say, days have begun to get shorter. Pretend I didn’t say that! The good news is that the best of summer weather is still ahead of us. Well, let’s hope!

While you’re waiting for the 4th of July fireworks this weekend, begin looking for one of the marquee signs of summer in the night sky. It’s the three stars of the Summer Triangle, and they’re very easy to see. Each of the stars is the brightest star from three different constellations. Just look for the three brightest stars you can see in the eastern sky, and that’s it. It’s a wonderful tool to help you find your way around that part of the night sky. Not only that, each of the three stars has its own remarkable story.

Mike Lynch is an amateur astronomer and retired broadcast meteorologist for WCCO Radio in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is the author of “Stars: a Month by Month Tour of the Constellations,” published by Adventure Publications and available at bookstores and adventurepublications.net. Mike is available for private star parties. You can contact him at mikewlynch@comcast.net.

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