Last Week's Stargazing Tips

July 26: Moon, Saturn, Antares

The gibbous Moon anchors a pretty triangle this evening. The triangle’s other points are the planet Saturn, which is to the right of the Moon, and the star Antares, about the same distance below the Moon.

July 25: Moon and Saturn

The stately planet Saturn accompanies the Moon across the sky tonight. It is close to the lower left of the Moon at nightfall, and looks like a bright star. The bright orange star Antares is close by as well, farther to Saturn’s lower left.

July 24: Galactic Edge

On these warm summer nights, the shimmering band of light called the Milky Way drapes across the sky. Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant first recognized this band of light for what it is 250 years ago: the edge-on view of our own galaxy of stars.

July 23: Cassiopeia

The constellation Cassiopeia, the queen, is well up in the north-northeast at nightfall right now. Its brightest stars form a sideways letter M or W.

July 22: Moon and Spica

The Moon is near first quarter tonight, so sunlight illuminates almost half of the lunar disk. It is in the south as darkness falls, and sets a few hours later. Spica, the brightest star of Virgo, stands close to the left of the Moon.

July 21: Big Dipper

Summer is a good time to look at the Big Dipper. Around 10 p.m., it stands high in the northwest. Its bowl looks like it is pouring its contents onto the ground below. The bowl’s outer stars point toward Polaris, the north star.

July 20: Aquila

A great eagle soars high overhead on summer nights: the constellation Aquila. Its brightest star, Altair, forms the lower right point of the summer triangle. Look for the triangle of bright stars high in the east in early evening.

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