Stargazing: The Milky Way and the winter triangle

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The Milky Way is often associated with the summer sky. However, the misty band of light is visible all year long.

The winter Milky Way is not as bright as its summer counterpart because our view now is outward, away from the center of our galaxy. In the summer our view is inward, toward the galaxy's center, and the Milky Way appears brighter.

This weekend, if the sky is clear and you are far from the bright lights of the city, look for the Milky Way arching across the sky from north to south. The band of pale light passes through the constellations of Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga, Gemini, Orion and between the bright stars of the "winter triangle."

You can locate the triangle by tracing a line from Betelgeuse, the bright star in Orion's right shoulder, east to Procyon, the brightest star in Canis Minor. Sirius, the brightest star in Canis Major, and the entire night sky, is the last star in the triangle.

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