Though named for a famous hero, the constellation Hercules is a challenge. A clear evening this month will find its “keystone” or “bow-tie” shape directly between the bright star Vega, two thirds of the way up in the sky in the east near midnight, and brilliant orange-white Arcturus, high in the southwestern sky.
New on the scene this month is an old favorite, the Summer Triangle. Near 10 o’clock, the brightest star of this trio, Vega, is in the east, about two thirds of the way up from the horizon. Deneb is much lower and in the northeast, to Vega’s left. The third member is rising in the east, known as Altair. They will grace the evening skies through the rest of the year.
June finds the Milky Way just beginning to return to the skies in the east. The dark evening skies feature a better view of the faint wisps of star clouds that form our view of the Milky Way. The Milky Way will climb a little higher each evening, and remains in the evening skies through the winter.