The Milky Way: July – August
There are some amateur astronomers who believe the north part of the Milky Way is the most spectacular (see Complete Star Chart 2.1). The star clouds of Sagittarius are justifiably some of the most wonderful and awe-inspiring regions that can be observed, but before you grab hold of your binoculars and make a mad dash outside, there is of course another side to this. For those lucky astronomers who live in, say, southern Europe or the southern United States, and those who are very fortunate to live in equatorial regions, then these skies will provide views and scenes you are unlikely to ever forget. Those of us however who live in northern Europe and Canada have to deal with the unfortunate fact that Sagittarius will always lie close to the horizon and sometimes when we read about the amazing sights that await observers in this region of the sky and then try to see them, we are often left with a sense of disappointment. The only advice I can offer is this; these regions are truly spectacular, so try to observe with an unobstructed horizon, and with dark skies. If this is not possible, book a holiday to a location where the skies are clear and Sagittarius is at the Zenith. You will never forget it!