Milwaukee Astronomical Society



Summer Sky Tour Home Page

Every year, in July, our Boy Scout Troop heads off to the North Woods of Wisconsin for a week of summer camp. It's been known on (rare) occasion to rain or cloud over at night, but when it's clear, the sky is stunning. On those nights we never fail to get out our binoculars and telescopes and head down to the lakefront for stargazing.

The account here is the agenda that I loosely follow in providing a guided tour of the summer skies as visible from 45° North Latitude. This tour is designed for one topic to lead to the next, so it flows nicely and still manages to teach Astronomy under the night sky as we caravan from one constellation to another. Aside from the binoculars and telescopes I usually make a point of also bringing a highly focused flashlight which serves as an effective pointer for tracing out constellations.

Note that this tour is specifically designed to meet requirements 5, 7 and 8 (b) of the Astronomy merit badge, although of course there are lots of other tidbits here that go beyond the requirements of the badge.

View to the South

View to the North

Overview of the Tour

The blue arrows map out the basic flow of the tour.

The Top Attractions

Time might be limited, if it's chilly, if conditions are changing, if the bugs are bad or else if time is just limited. In that case, these are the best items to hit - the ones that the kids (and the adults) are talking about days later.

 Feature  Naked Eye Binoculars Telescope
 Mizar & Alcor   ✔   ✔ 
 δ Cephei   ✔ 
 The Scorpion's Claws (Libra)   ✔ 
 The Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae   ✔   ✔   ✔ 
 The Coathanger   ✔ 
 Albireo   ✔   ✔ 
 The Double Double   ✔   ✔ 
 The Ring Nebula   ✔ 
 M13   ✔   ✔ 
Feature Visual Binocs Scope
Mizar & Alcor  ✔   ✔ 
δ Cephei  ✔ 
The Scorpion's Claws (Libra)  ✔ 
The Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae  ✔   ✔   ✔ 
The Coathanger  ✔ 
Albireo  ✔   ✔ 
The Double Double  ✔   ✔ 
The Ring Nebula  ✔ 
M13  ✔   ✔ 

Back to Stargazing Home Page On to Polar Constellations


Download This Tour

   Summer Sky Tour in PDF You can download this entire tour in a single PDF document.


Word Logo    Summer Sky Tour in Word You can download this entire tour in a single Word document.


Goddard Space Flight Center Hubble Site The best Hubble web site in my "hubble" opinion

The SEDS Messier Catalog -- a great reference for more information and images of the Messier Catalog deep sky objects.

Views of the Solar System Excellent reference on the solar system, well organized and packed with goodies.

The Galactic Zoo Public Night Powerpoint presentation for Milwaukee Astronomical Society, 23 August 2019.
Lots of notes and lots of animation in the slides, so view in slide show mode.


Your questions and comments regarding the Stargazing section are welcome. You can e-mail the author, Randy Culp for inquiries, suggestions, new ideas or just to chat.
Updated 18 July 2023