As spring gives way to summer, the signature star patterns of the new season climb into view during the short nights. The teapot of Sagittarius rises in late evening, with the curving form of Scorpius following it into view in the south a little later. They never climb far above the horizon, although their distinctive shapes make them easy to find. Venus and Jupiter, the night sky’s brightest objects after the Moon, draw closer as June progresses, and stand breathtakingly close together by month’s end.
This Week's Stargazing Tips
June 29: Bright Trio
The Moon, the planet Saturn, and the star Antares stand close together in the south-southeast at nightfall. Saturn looks like a bright golden star to the upper right of the Moon, with orange Antares a little closer to the Moon’s lower right.
June 30: Leap Second
Today is the longest day of 2015. The world’s timekeeping services will add an extra second to their atomic clocks between 6:59:59 and 7 p.m. CDT, so the day will last precisely 24 hours and one second.
July 1: Short Moon
The Moon is full tonight. It is known as the Hay Moon or Thunder Moon. It’s also known as the Short Moon because it will be in view for a shorter time than any other full Moon of the year.
July 2: Venus and Jupiter
Venus and Jupiter reign as the brightest points of light in the night sky. They stand side by side in the west the next couple of evenings. Venus is the brighter of the two, with Jupiter close to its right.
July 3: Latest Sunsets
Although the longest day in the northern hemisphere was the summer solstice, the Sun is just now setting at its latest for the year for the southernmost regions of the United States.
July 4: Fireworks
A pair of brilliant lights are in good view well before twilight drains from the western sky this evening. The planets Venus and Jupiter stand side by side. Venus is the brighter of the two. Regulus, the heart of Leo, stands close to their upper left.
July 5: Earth at Aphelion
Earth will stand farthest from the Sun for the entire year tomorrow afternoon, at a distance of more than 94 million miles, or about three million miles farther than we were in January.
Check last week's tips if you missed a day.