By nightfall, Procyon, Little Dog, snoozes on the western horizon marking the end of the dazzling winter parade. Mercury, 95 million miles away, gleams 4 degrees above brilliant Venus rising higher in the west-northwest. Our sister planet, wrapped in sunlit clouds, floats about 150 million miles from Earth. Jupiter has left the evening sky and will reappear in the eastern dawn early July. Silver Saturn, encircled in icy rings, follows Spica, both in Virgo, across the south. Kite-shaped Corvus, Crow, flies into the southwest. The stunning compact cluster Omega Centauri (millions of stars) shimmers low in the south below Corvus. Gemini Twins: Castor and Pollux lead the dim Beehive star cluster toward the planets in the west-northwest. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, to the northwestern horizon. Leo, Lion, crawls westward. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star, the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle. Arcturus, a red supergiant, rises higher in the east. Mid-evening, Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle higher in the northeast. Huge Scorpius climbs over the southeastern horizon. Bright Antares, red heart, beats in the Scorpion's torso. Late evening, the Sagittarian Teapot follows Scorpius across the southeast.
Aim binoculars and cameras to the west where a sliver of a young moon, with dark Earthshine, forms a triangle with Mercury and Venus.
In the predawn, a new meteor shower, Gamma Delphinids, may be visible radiating from the Zenith.
After sunset, the young moon floats 7 degrees left of the Beehive star cluster in the west. Mercury reaches its highest altitude above the west-northwestern horizon.
About 1:30 a.m. dim Neptune, with eight satellite moons 2.8 billion miles away, rises in the southeast in Aquarius. By 3 a.m., blue-green Uranus, 1.2 billion miles from Earth, appears in the southeast in Pisces, Fish. By 6 a.m. winter stars appear at dawn. The Pleiades cluster (Seven Sisters) leads Taurus, Bull, higher in the east. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Ruddy Mars rises in the east-northeast, lower left of the Hyades. Capella, in Auriga, twinkles in the northeast. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) higher in the east. Westbound Hercules leads Vega and the Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Capricornus, Sea Goat wanders across the south. The Sagittarian Teapot follows Scorpius into the southwest. The Summer Milky Way arches from the Teapot to the Triangle.
Aim binoculars/cameras/ to Venus and Mercury 3 degrees apart low in the west-northwest.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org