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During ancient times when Rome was the center of western civilization, man often looked to the stars to try to explain the world around him. Early astronomers noticed that Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star visible from Earth, and found in the constellation Canis Major, was high in the sky during the hottest days of the summer, which fell from early July through mid August. This time of year was referred to as the Dog Days of Summer.
An inflorescence, according to Merriam-Webster, is a cluster of flowers on one or a series of branches, which together make a large showy blossom. Whether singly or in groups, I’ve always loved flowers. There’s something especially magical about a cluster, an inflorescence, on the plant. Some of my favorite flowers bloom in clusters: lilac, hyacinth, hydrangea, snowball, wisteria, foxglove, lantana (especially the purple ones)… I could go on. And on.
One of my favorite ways of naming patterns is by running a naming contest. I always end up with something wonderful, often with lots of other fabulous ideas. This time the winning contestant thought the pattern looked like a mermaid’s tail, which made her think of the many myths and legends of river mermaids, sirens, water sprites, often referred to as nixies.
As I often do when trying to name patterns, I looked to the stars. This time I found a quartet of unusual star groupings. These stars are each in their own constellations, and also participate in asterisms, groupings of stars that are not physically related to each other. There are four seasonal asterisms: The Great Square of Pegasus in autumn, The Winter Hexagon, The Great Diamond in spring, and The Summer Triangle. The three stars in The Summer Triangle are Altair, Deneb, and Vega. These stars are in the Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra constellations respectively. Like these asterisms, the three designs in my Summer Triangle are not actually related to each other, except that they are all found here, in this grouping.