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Summertime clusters

One of my favorite warm-weather activities as a kid was flying a kite. Even today, I enjoy watching kites soar high in the sky. There is just something very relaxing, almost cathartic about their graceful movements.

That fascination for kites continues into the night sky, where we find a celestial version of a kite in the form of Boötes. This constellation dates back to the second century a.d. when astronomer Claudius Ptolemy included it as one of his 48 constellations in his monumental work, Almagest.

But Ptolemy didn’t see a kite when he looked at the stars in his new constellation. Instead, he envisioned an ox driver or a herdsman holding a staff in one hand. Perhaps, but it still looks like a kite to me, as I am sure it does to many others. In fact, if you look carefully, you just might spot the smile on the face of the child who is flying the kite! That smile, formed by a semicircle of stars to the east, is the constellation Corona Borealis the Northern Crown.

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