Due west at 9:00 this evening, well above the bright star Arcturus, a semi-circle of stars, with a bright one in middle, forms the constellation Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown. The middle, somewhat brighter star goes by the name Gemma, Latin for “gem” or Alphecca, Arabic for “one in the dish”.

The Milky Way arcs across the sky from the northeast, where the bright star Capella is rising, running through the Summer Triangle overhead, and then is anchored in the southwest with the setting star Antares, the red star marking the heart of Scorpio, the Scorpion.

The dark skies near the new Moon are always rewarding for the faint stars now exposed. Yet, despite their lack of luster, these lesser components are by far the most numerous. Consider that on a dark, clear night you can see up to 3000 stars, yet only 35 are as bright, or brighter, than the stars of the Big Dipper.