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Sky Report - June thru September 2007

June 2007 Sky Sights: Early in June, the innermost planet Mercury can be seen low in the western dusk below and to the right of the brilliant planet Venus. On June 5th, the bright planet Jupiter is brightest and closest to the Earth at a distance of 400 million miles. Look for a bright point of light low in the Southeast in the late evening hours. On June 9th, the brilliant planet Venus is at its greatest angle from the sun, setting about two hours after sunset. On the evenings of June 12th and 13th, the brilliant planet Venus appears just to the right of the Beehive star cluster. On June 17th, a slender crescent moon appears below the brilliant planet Venus. On June 18th, the crescent moon appears between the planet Saturn and the brilliant planet Venus. June 21st is the first day of summer, the date when the sun shines for 15 hours and reaches its greatest mid day height. On the evening of June 29th and 30th, the evening moon is full, appearing in the star group Sagittarius.

July 2007 Sky Sights: On the evening of July 1st, the brilliant planet Venus (on left) and the bright planet Saturn are nearly in line, appearing less than a degree apart (two moon widths) low in the western dusk. Venus is about 49 million miles from the Earth while Saturn is nearly 19 times farther away. On July 13th the brilliant planet Venus is closest to the star Regulus, marking the heart of Leo. On July 16th the crescent moon appears just below the planet Saturn. On July 17th, the crescent moon appears above and to the left of the brilliant planet Venus. On July 29th, the moon is full, shining all through the night.
July is the best month of the year to view the planet Jupiter, appearing nearly south in the late evening sky. To the right and below Jupiter is the Scorpion, a "J" shaped star group.

August 2007 Sky Sights: Early August is the mid point of summer. Both Venus and Saturn drop out of view in western twilight, overtaken by the advance of the sun along the zodiac. On the evening of August 12th, the moon nearly passes between the Earth and sun; this occasion is called the new moon. In the early morning hours of August 13th, the Earth is pelted by comet debris; this debris is incinerated in our upper atmosphere. This is the Perseid meteor shower, whose meteors can be traced back to the star group Perseus. On August 18th, the brilliant planet Venus passes to the South of the sun. By early September, Venus will reappear low in the eastern dawn. On the evening of August 27th, the moon is full, appearing in the star group Aquarius.

September 2007 Sky Sights: As schools reopen, the bright star Vega shines straight down on our area at dusk. This is the only bright star to do so. On September 9th, the crescent moon appears near the brilliant planet Venus in the eastern dawn. On September 11th, the moon nearly passes between the sun and the Earth. Sunset on September 12th marks the first day of Ramadan for Muslims and Yosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year. On September 26th, the moon is full. This is the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the first day of fall (September 23rd). For four days following the full moon, there is extra evening moonlight. This allowed our colonial farmers to harvest their fields past sunset.

By Dr. Bob Doyle









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