Image: Western sky chart
The Summer Triangle, indicated by the red lines on this star chart, consists of Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, Vega in Lyra, and Aquila in Altair. The chart shows the sky as it appears from midnorthern latitudes at 9 p.m. local time this week. Click for a larger, more detailed chart.
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updated 12/5/2003 3:58:15 PM ET 2003-12-05T20:58:15

After dominating the sky for many months, the Summer Triangle now makes only a limited appearance. But you can still spot it if you go out early enough.

Space.com
THE TRIANGLE is made up of Vega in the constellation Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. These three stars are the brightest of their respective constellations.Vega and Altair set in the west in late evening. Deneb stays up until past midnight.

If you go out after sunset, the stars that appear low on the horizon in the above map will be higher and easier to spot. Vega is the fifth-brightest star in the sky. Compare it to Mars, which is still just a bit brighter.

The Red Planet, though far dimmer than it was in August, continues to dominate the southwestern evening sky. Mars’ orange tint makes it easy to identify. From cities and suburbs, where light pollution drowns out faint stars, Mars sits practically alone, since there are no bright stars nearby.

The Northern Cross, with Vega at the top, is now almost upright, but it disappears quickly after darkness falls.

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