This piece was originally broadcast on Radio Scilly in November 2018
The Summer Triangle asterism is still with us. It’s one of the most obvious things you’ll see when you look upwards after dark. These three bright stars are – highest in the sky – Deneb (part of the northern cross, or Cygnus the swan), then to the right, Vega (of constellation Lyra), and the lowest is Altair, main star in Aquila, the eagle.
Now that may not be all that interesting on the surface of it – though Deneb does lie smack bang in the middle of the milky way, making it a good waymarker. However, on this occasion, I’m talking about the coathanger! This is a lovely asterism – or unofficial collection of stars that make a shape in the sky. The coathanger can be handily found between Altair and Vega and it’s called the coathanger, because (and this isn’t always the case with naming things in astronomy) it looks just like a coathanger! Albeit from where we are it is upside down.
To find it, with a pair of binoculars sweep upwards, from Altair to Vega. About a third of the way you’ll find the coathanger. It’s formed of a straight line of 6 stars, below which is a hook of 4 stars. See if you can find it!
Meanwhile, back on earth, on St Martins, our observatory now has 2 domes and we’re awaiting delivery of the final few bits of building materials. All being well we’ll be in there soon playing with all the kit! I think it’s going to be an exciting winter ahead of stargazing ahead.