At dusk, brilliant Venus, Evening Star, glows in the west. Leo, Lion, stalks the western horizon. The star Regulus (Lion’s elbow) descends 8 degrees lower right of Venus. They set early. Eastbound silver Saturn cruises about 12 degrees left of Spica. Both are in Virgo in the south. They set in the west around midnight. Corvus, Crow, lands on the southwestern horizon. Huge Scorpius crawls into the south, ahead of the Sagittarian Teapot. Bright Antares, the red heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. Aim binoculars to the south, where the center of our Milky Way Galaxy contains a myriad of star clusters, nebulas and distant galaxies. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders across the southeast. Aquarius, Water Jar, appears on the southeastern horizon. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp and the Summer Triangle to the Zenith. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Binoculars reveal the Swan’s eye — a colorful double star. Corona Borealis, stellar necklace, follows westbound ruddy Arcturus, Herdsman. The Big Dipper (Great Bear) swings into the northwest. Its bowl always aligns with Polaris, North Star. The Little Dipper pivots around Polaris, the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle.
Mid-evening, dim blue Neptune rises in Aquarius in the southeast. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. Pegasus, Winged Horse lifts above the eastern horizon. Before midnight, The Royal Family arrives in the northeast. Blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast in Pisces, Fish.
Last quarter moon occurs 1:43 p.m. The waning moon rises in the east after midnight.
In the predawn hours, the Southern Delta Aquarids may be most active, radiating from the south. At least 10 Aquarids per/hour may be visible from a dark rural site. Jupiter rises in the east by 3:30 a.m. followed by Mars 20 minutes later. By 5:30 a.m. Mercury reaches its highest altitude. Aim binoculars to three planets aligned in the northeast in Gemini: ruddy Mars lies 7 degrees above Mercury; bright Jupiter glows 3 degrees above Mars. The Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) shimmer in the east-northeast above Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster in Taurus, Bull. Orion, Hunter, reclines on the eastern horizon. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus to the Zenith. Bright Capella (double star) guides Auriga, Charioteer, higher in the northeast. The Royal Family reigns in the north. Vega leads the Summer Triangle into the northwest.
At dawn, the waning moon floats near the delicate Seven Sisters. Mars and Jupiter are 4 degrees apart.
Before 6 a.m. the old crescent moon lies near ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) in the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face) in Taurus, Bull.
At dawn the thin moon is 5 degrees above Jupiter.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org