Summer brings relatively mild nights, coinciding with vacations for many people. It is surely the most frequent time of year when the public pauses to look up and admire the Universe beyond our own planet. Fireworks also bring out thousands of people, waiting as twilight deepens not necessarily for the actual stars to appear but primarily, for the brighter, more colorful, faster and noisier variety as pyrotechnics scream upwards exploding in all their glory. Nice as fireworks are, we can discover a more enduring display, the starry firmament visible anywhere and at any time the Sun is set, as long as the sky is clear and dark. Whether you’re sitting on blanket or in a lawn chair waiting for fireworks, on a camping trip or otherwise out and about on a summer night, take notice of the celestial pageant appearing before your eyes. As an added bonus, you might be in an area where there is a symphony of crickets and peep toads seeming to serenade you, or a distant howl of a coyote and hoot of an owl to add mystery to the time under the stars. It may be yet time to have the sweet distraction of fireflies, competing for stars as they shine their light dancing about in the air between you and the starry realm. Some people enjoy recorded music to accompany the cosmos with nature’s own concert on stage. The wonder of the constellation figures, the unexpected meteor, the billows of the Milky Way Band, however, can cause us to hush, to contemplate on their creator, purpose and place for you and I. Imagine for a moment how unfathomably small a speck of dust is the planet Earth, in scale with the vastness of the Milky Way Galaxy, let alone the hardly ponderable breadth and length and width of the chasms of vacuum between our galaxy and those in the far beyond. This is all there, the next clear night, available from the nearest spot you can go to get away from glaring man-made lights and overwhelming landscape obstructions - maybe from your very own backyard. On top of this it is absolutely free to enjoy. All you need are eyes to see. In early July after 10 p.m., the stars are appearing in abundance. First quarter Moon is on July 9 so we have a lovely crescent in the west until then, without moonlight for most of the night. Look north for the Big Dipper handing down as if its handle hangs on a hook; the Little Dipper standing upright on top the North Star which marks its handle star. The classic “W” of Cassiopeia is at bottom right. In the east, the Milky Way Band appears, stretching left to right through the Northern Cross which is lying on its side. Bright blue-white Vega is high in the east. Looking south this year, planet Jupiter glows with a great brilliant white, to the upper left of the bright red star Antares. Low in the southeast is yellowish Saturn, to the left of the Teapot configuration of stars. Westward, bright white Spica shines; much higher up is the wonderful, bright orange star Arcturus. Overhead (in the zenith) is the Hercules constellation, which reveals a fine, fuzzy patch in binoculars, the famed M13 Globular Cluster - an astounding sight in a backyard telescope of any size. Enjoy the summer night. Keep looking up! Peter Becker is Managing Editor at The News Eagle in Hawley, PA. Notes are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mention in what newspaper or web site you read this column.