Podcaster: Shane and Chris

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Title: Stars You Should Know For Summer

Organization:  Actual Astronomy

Link :

Description: The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents Stars You Should Know For Summer.  In this episode Chris and Shane welcome back Dave Chapman to talk about the key stars of the Summer sky. We go over the stars of the Summer Triangle, a couple fast moving stars and the prominent stellar markers for Scorpius, Ophiuchus and Sagittarius.

Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.

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Intro: Dave Chapman’s Star You Should Know for Summer on Episode 348 of the Actual Astronomy podcast. I’m Chris and joining me is Shane. We are amateur astronomers who love looking up at the night sky and this podcast is for everyone who enjoys going out under the stars.

Welcome back to the show Dave!

Always great to chat with you.

You wanted to do a plug for your book.

You’ve been our regular guest, you’re a mentor of mine, long time amateur astronomer, retired acoustical scientist, former RASC Observer’s Handbook editor and I know I rely on you to review my work frequently, what else do we need for an intro….OH you’ve also been curating a series of podcasts on stars people should know by the season and this is instalment 4, we’ve done Winter, Northern Stars, Spring Stars, so this will be Summer with Autumn and Southern Stars to come.

Where would you like to begin?

Stars You Should Know—Summer

(Dave Chapman, 2023)

Coming up:

Fall (September)

South Polar (November)

Focussing on classic Greek-Roman names with occasional indigenous references. The classic

names are used in some GoTo telescope software for sky alignment (e.g. Sky-Watcher SynScan

and Celestron).

Spectral classes O B A F G K M — Annie Jump Cannon


Star Tales (2018) Ian Ridpath

Star Names (1963) Richard Hinckley Allen

Sky Safari 7 Pro (star lore by Jim Kaler)

A Concise Dictionary of Astronomy (1991) Jacqueline MItton

Stars You Should Know—Summer

9 bright stars —from mag. 0 to mag. 6 (9 OK to find, even in the city)

—8 are used for celestial navigation (58 in all)

—several Sky-Watcher SynScan and Celestron alignment stars

3 dimmer stars of interest

LYRA "The Lyre or Harp”

Vega – alpha Lyrae “Swooping Vulture or Eagle”

– mag. 0 variable multiple star, blue-white A0 main-sequence

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– first star to be photographed, spectrum-analysed, and distance measured by parallax

– home to fictional alien civilization in “Contact”

Epsilon Lyrae “Double Double”

– pair of mag. 4–5 stars each of which is also double

– easily observable in binos (208”)

– each component is also double (5.1, 6.1, 2.1”) and (5.3, 5.4 ,2.4”)

– test of telescope optics and seeing conditions

– white A main-sequence stars

When we chatted yesterday you mentioned something about the Etymology of the word Vega as a bird?

CYGNUS “The Swan”


Deneb – alpha Cygni “Tail” of the Swan

– mag. 1 variable double star

– blue A2 supergiant

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– North America Nebula within a binocular field

Albireo – beta Cygni “Beak” of the Swan

– mag. 3 variable coloured double star, gold/blue pair (3.2, 4.7, 35”)

– orange K3 giant and blue-white B8 main-sequence

– Sky-watcher alignment star

– Visible in binoculars, a crowd-pleaser in telescopes

– Coathanger star cluster close by

61 Cygni “The Flying Star”

– mag. 5 multiple star

– pair of orange K5 & K7 dwarf stars (5.2, 6.0, 32”) easily split in binoculars

– Piazzi (1792) discovered large proper motion

– Bessel (1830) measured distance by parallax

– 15th nearest star (11.4 ly)—possibility of a nearby planet inspired the 1953 sci-fi

story Mission to Gravity by Hal Clement

AQUILA “The Eagle”

Altair – alpha Aquilae “The Flying Eagle”

– mag. 1 multiple star, yellow-white A7 warf

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– Forbidden Planet (1956) was set on fictitious planet Altair IV


SCORPIUS “The Scorpion”

Antares – alpha Scorpii “Rival of Mars”

– Cor Scorpionis—the Heart of the Scorpion

– mag. 1 variable double star, red M1.5 supergiant

– flanked by sigma and tau Scorpii, both named Alniyat (The Arteries)

– nice binocular field with globular cluster M4 and very wide open cluster Cr 302

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

Shaula – lambda Scorpii “The Stinger”

– mag. 2 variable multiple star, blue-white B1.5 subgiant

– Shaula and nearby Leasath (upsilon Scorpii) make up the stinger

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– Ptolemy’s Cluster (M7) is a fine open cluster one binocular field to the northeast

– most southerly Messier object –35 degrees



Nunki – sigma Sagitarii

– mag. 2 double star, blue B3 main-sequence

– brightest star in the handle of The Teapot

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– fine globular cluster M22 is a binocular field to the northwest

Kaus Australis – epsilon Sagitarius “Southern tip of the Archer’s Bow”

– Kaus Media (delta Sgr) and Kaus Borealis (lamnda Sgr) complete the bow

– also the base of the Teapot spout

– mag. 3 double star, blue-white A0 giant

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– Ptolemy’s Cluster (M7) is a fine open cluster one binocular field to the west

OPHIUCHUS “The Serpent Bearer”

Rasalhague- alpha Ophiuchi “Head of the Serpent Collector”

– mag. 2 double star, white A5 giant

– classic navigation star, Sky-watcher and Celestron alignment star

– to the south, two binocular fields away, is Taurus Poniatovii (defunct constellation)

– see

– also Actual Astronomy #234 with Brian Ventrudo

Barnard’s Star – V2500 Ophiuchi

– mag. 9 star, orange-red M3.5 dwarf

– highest proper motion (1/4 degree in human lifetime)

– closest star visible from Canada

– within Taurus P.

Anything to add before we conclude Dave?

Anything to add Shane?Concluding Listener Message: Dear listeners, please subscribe and do us a favour and share the show with the other stargazers you know. Thanks for listening and you can always send us your show ideas, observations and questions to

End of podcast:

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