Weekly Stargazing Tips

Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii). Check out last week's tips if you missed a night.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Steady Sun

If the Sun were to suddenly wink out of existence (which is impossible, by the way), we wouldn’t know it for more than eight minutes. The Sun is 93 million miles away, and it takes light more than eight minutes to cross that distance.


A wedge-shaped pattern of stars known as the Keystone stands high overhead late this evening in Hercules. It stands to the upper right of Vega, one of the brightest stars in the summer sky.


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory