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In the Sky This Month

While the Summer Triangle and the other signature star patterns of the season continue their climb across the night sky, the solar system’s giants stage a dazzling show. Both are at opposition, so they shine at their brightest for the year. Mars shines brightly, too, while Venus dazzles as the Morning Star.

July 6: Serpens Nurseries

Several stellar nurseries in Serpens Cauda, the tail of the snake, are busily churning out baby stars. The constellation is in the southeast at nightfall, above and to the upper right of the teapot outlined by some of the brightest stars of Sagittarius.

July 7: Summer Triangle

A pattern of three bright stars known as the Summer Triangle stands high in the east by mid-evening. The stars that mark the triangle’s points are easy to find. They are Deneb, in the constellation Cygnus; Vega, in Lyra; and Altair, in Aquila.

July 8: Delphinus

Delphinus, the dolphin, climbs the eastern sky this evening, to the left or lower left of Altair, one of the points of the Summer Triangle. Four stars in Delphinus form a small diamond, with two others curving away to form the dolphin’s tail.

July 9: Venus and Aldebaran

At first light tomorrow, Venus, the morning star, will stand directly above Aldebaran, the star that marks the eye of Taurus. Over the following few days, Venus will slide down to the left of Aldebaran, then stand side by side with the bull’s eye.

July 10: Moon and Mars

Look for Mars near the Moon the next couple of mornings, high in the sky at first light. Mars is to the upper left of the Moon tomorrow, and to the upper right on Sunday.

July 11: Great Appearances

Jupiter and Saturn, the solar system’s largest planets, are low in the southeast at nightfall and in the southwest at dawn. And the Moon and the planet Mars climb into good view by 1:30 or 2 a.m. Mars looks like a bright orange star to the upper right of the Moon.

July 12: Jupiter at Opposition

Jupiter is putting in its best appearance of the year. The planet is lining up opposite the Sun. It rises around sunset and is in view all night. It also shines brightest for the year. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall and looks like a brilliant star.

Full MoonFull July 4, 11:44 pm

Last quarterLast July 12, 6:29 pm

New MoonNew July 20, 12:33 pm

First QuarterFirst July 27, 7:33 am

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Apogee July 12

Perigee July 24

The full Moon of July is known as the Hay Moon or Thunder Moon.