Your guide to the stars
st quarter.rd quarter Moon is 8º to the left of Jupiter.nd anniversary of the 1969 Moon landing, when American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land and walk on the moon.
You can use the chart as a guide when looking at the night sky in May. The chart shows the sky as it will be at 11:30 p.m. on July 1; 10:30 p.m. on July 15; and 9:30 p.m. on July 31.
Hold the chart so the direction you are facing is at the bottom. For example, if you are facing north, turn the chart around so the "N" representing north is at the bottom as you hold it out in front of you. The center of the chart represents the portion of the sky you see if you look straight up.
To keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness as you look a the night sky, use a red-light flashlight to view the chart. You can make your own by putting red cellophane over the light or by coloring the lens of the flashlight with a red marker pen.
7 Thu. evening:
8 Fri. evening:
20 Wed. evening:
23 Sat. morning:
27 Wed. morning:
30 Sat. morning:
The Sun, Moon and planets rise in the east and set in the west due to Earth’s west-to-east rotation on its axis.
Mercury, spending most of July low in the west in the early evening dusk, appears highest above the setting Sun around mid-month.
Jupiter rises several hours before sunrise and is easily the brightest object in the eastern sky before dawn.
Saturn, well up in the southwest in the evening sky, will soon be setting before midnight.
Constellation of the Month
Scorpius the Scorpion is one of the few constellations that actually look somewhat like what they are supposed to represent in the night sky. Facing south soon after dark, look for a large fish-hook shaped pattern fairly low with a bright reddish star at the upper right end. That red star, Antares, is the scorpion’s head; the stars to its upper right are its pinchers. Its body winds downward to the left before curling up to form the tail; at the end of the tail are two close stars, the brighter of which is Shaula, the scorpion’s stinger. If you’re fortunate enough to be viewing from dark skies, note that Scorpius is seen against the glow of the Milky Way which is rising from the horizon toward the upper left.
In Greek mythology it was the duty of Scorpius to sting and kill Orion the Hunter who had offended one of the gods with his overly macho behavior. Another of the gods friendly to Orion, in return, killed Scorpius. Both were then placed in the sky by their respective guardian gods. But in a moment of rationality, the gods agreed they didn’t want Orion and Scorpius fighting throughout eternity, so Orion was placed in the winter sky and Scorpius in the summer sky. As the Greek philosopher-poet Aratos of Soloi (c. 310 - 245 BCE) wrote, "When the Scorpion come, Orion flies to the utmost end of earth," thus they are never in the sky at the same time. (Humm...that might be a strategy worth considering here on Earth. Let’s see, would the Democrats or the Republicans get the summer or winter?)
Antares, not Mars
Antares, the bright reddish star representing the head of Scorpius the Scorpion, is a red giant nearing the end of its life. Situated 600 light years away, Antares is vastly larger than our Sun, weighing in at 15-18 solar masses. Its diameter of 800 Suns means Antares, if it was at the center of our solar system, would swallow the four innermost solid planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars – leaving only the four gas giants – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. When our Sun nears the end of its life, as all stars eventually do, it will expand and consume the inner three planets – and yes, that includes us. But since we’re talking 5 billion or so years down the road, don’t quit school or cash in your IRA.
According to most interpretations, the star’s name comes from ancient Greece and means "not Ares," "rival of Ares," or "anti-Ares," referring to Ares, the Greek god of war. (When the Romans later adopted Greek religion, the god of war was renamed Mars.) Since Antares is situated on the ecliptic – the path of the Sun, Moon and planets – the planet Mars regularly passes near Antares, and as they appear similar in brightness and color, the name makes sense to avoid confusing not-Mars with the real Mars.
Year Half Over.
Farthest from Sun.
Paul Derrick is an amateur astronomer who lives in Waco. His website
or 254-723-6346 or 918 N. 30th St., Waco, TX ) Contact him at:July 20 is the 42July 4 Earth is at aphelion, its farthest point from the Sun in its elliptical orbit. With an average distance of 93 million miles, the July distance of 94.5 million miles is 3.4% more distant than when Earth is perihelion, its nearest point to the Sun, in early January. (In case you’re wondering, that small variation has very little effect on Earth surface temperature.) The midpoint of the year occurs July 2 at noon, local standard time. is rising well before the Sun and is daily climbing higher in the eastern morning sky. , ending this year’s stint as the "morning star," rises only an hour before the Sun early in the month and is virtually lost in the Sun’s glare by month’s end.: Venus, Mars, Jupiter (east): Saturn (southwest), Mercury (west, very low) The Moon is new, for the second time this month.The Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks with no Moon interference. The crescent Moon is 3º to the upper right of Mars low in the ENE. The 3 Mercury is at greatest elongation 27º east of the setting Sun. The full Moon is called Hay Moon and Thunder Moon. Neptune completes its first orbit of the Sun since it was discovered in 1846; one Neptunian year equals nearly 165 Earth years. The Moon is at 1 The Moon is 8º to the lower left of Saturn in the WSW.