Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

What to See in the Summer Night Sky

Summer is usually when telescopes enter hibernation, but there are lots to be seen in the sky at this time of year

By , 14th June 2013 in Sky at Night

Summer can be a wonderful time for stargazing and despite the light evenings, there's much to be seen in the night sky at this time of year.

The first stunning summer deep-sky objects is the rather large summer Milky Way in Sagittarius, Scutum, Ophiuchus and Aquila. It is a particularly awe-inspiring sight, especially from dark sky sites. To get a good view of it from the UK it is best to travel to a site with a very clear southern horizon.

The Milky Way beckons to a sky watcher in the south of France.
Image Credit: Laurent Laveder
The Milky Way beckons to a sky watcher in the south of France.

Nestled within the Milky Way in the constellation of Sagittarius, just above the spout of the Teapot asterism, you'll find the Lagoon Nebula (M8). It's a great object to look at with binoculars and even better in a small telescope.

About 7° to the East of the Lagoon Nebula lies the magnificent globular cluster of M22. You shouldn't have too much trouble picking it out using binoculars, but for a real WOW, try observing it with a large telescope to see it sitting against the glittering starfields of the Galaxy.

M8 - The Lagoon Nebula
M8 - The Lagoon Nebula

There are several other striking summer nebulae in this region of the sky. The Eagle Nebula (M16) and M17 are excellent targets for 6 to 8-inch reflectors; located in Serpens and Sagittarius respectively. Not far away in Scutum lies the Wild Duck Cluster, M11.

Summer Meteor Showers

Summer is a quiet time for meteor showers, the only one of note is the Perseids which are active from July 13 to August 26, reaching a strong maximum on August 11th - 13th.

Summer Time Constellations

Summer is an ideal time to observe the following constellations.

Further Reading
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