Now is the time to follow the Milky Way

This week, and indeed throughout the month, grab a clear night to stay up late and trace out the Milky Way. Northern summer is the best time to see the centre of the galaxy.

You will need a dark site, well away from street lamps, and at least an hour for your eyes to become accustomed to the dark. The chart shows the view looking south-east from London at midnight on Monday, but the view will not change much throughout the month.

Head out around 10pm, and start by identifying the three stars of the summer triangle: Vega in Lyra, the lyre; Altair in Aquila, the eagle; and Deneb in Cygnus, the swan. As night descends, the Milky Way will appear, running along Cygnus and between Lyra and Aquila. It appears as a misty band of light, stretching across the sky, and is the combined light of the billions of stars that comprise our home galaxy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Throughout the month, the centre of the galaxy appears above the southern horizon. It is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, which is readily identifiable because its central stars look like a teapot. From the southern hemisphere, the centre of the galaxy is much easier to see, because it appears much higher in the sky.

See also  Mutations don't worry - but the effect of the vaccine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *