"Altair: The Weird but Wonderful Second-Brightest Star of the Summer Triangle"

Scheduled air date: 2001 Jul 23-29

The Summer Triangle—comprised of the bright stars Vega, Altair and Deneb—is prominent in the night sky throughout the Summer.  For the next couple of weeks, it appears high in the eastern sky at dusk, reaches the meridian at about midnight, and then is high in the western sky at dawn.

The three stars which make up the Summer Triangle are dramatically different in size and brightness, as well as distance from us.  This shows a comparison of the sizes of these stars with our own Sun.  Note the flattened shape of Altair (due to rapid rotation) and the giant size of Deneb!

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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