by Maya del Mar
The Great Stars of Summer Begin to Appear
I love the summer sky, perhaps because it is familiar to me. On warm clear summer nights it is a delight to lay on the grass and say hello to our star friends. I especially like watching the sky after sunset, and seeing the stars come out one by one, the brightest ones first.
Going down in the West now is yellow Regulus, the Royal Star of Leo, the Lion. Follow the horizon to the southwest, and find pure blue Spica, Virgos special star. Keep going southward, and there is bright orange Mars, just to the left of Scorpio with its own red warrior star, Antares.
Above us is big orange-y Arcturus, main star of Bootes, the Shepherd, watching over us. And rising up from the eastern horizon is the Great Summer Triangle, sparkling blue Vega in Lyra, yellowish Deneb in Cygnus, the Swan, and pure white Altair in Aguila, the Eagle.
As the night moves on, the Summer Triangle climbs higher, and comes to dominate the skythus its name. And as the month moves ahead, it rises sooner and sooner, while Regulus sinks below the horizon.
Mars, Still Bright, Grows Smaller. Catch It Now!
Mars is now our only evening planet, and it is diminishing quickly now. After it turns direct on July 19, its apparent size will shrink rapidly. You can mark it by its neighbor, Antares, and night by night watch it change.
Watch Mars on the night of July 2. The rounding moon makes a triangle with Mars and Antares. These assertive energies are Moons last connection before the Lunar Eclipse of July 5, and Moon will carry this feeling with her. Check the sky tonightJuly 2and you can say you saw them in conference!
In the northern hemisphere Mars now rides very low. In the southern hemisphere it should be high above.
Morning Sky is Now Scintillating
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter now pop over the horizon before dawn. Fleet-footed Mercury joins Jupiter for a few days, closest on July 13. Venus rises first, and lies close to the Pleiades on July 4.
Saturn rises shortly after Venus as dawn breaks in early July, about 3 hours before sunrise. Watch them daily to see them close in on each other. By July 15 they appear right together. And on July 17 a lovely crescent moon joins them. Reddish Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull, completes a spectacular quartet. It may be a quintet, for duller Mercury may also be visible near moon.
Watch this special gathering between 4-5 a.m., and you can catch Jupiter rising. Bright Jupiter rises an hour and 40 minutes before sunrise.
This kind of a show is worth getting up for!
Lunar Occultations Occur on July 17, 18, and 19
A Lunar Occultation is a name for an eclipse of a planet other than the sun. The Moon covers, or hides, a planet along a certain pathway, as in a solar eclipse. The normal electromagnetic influence of the planet is interrupted. For instance, I just had a teeth cleaning during an occultation of Saturn (experimentIm ever the scientist). Saturn is associated with teeth. Normally teeth cleanings are OK for me, with very little pain. That day there was an absolutely incredible amount of pain with several of my teeth. I had to stop the process. That was about 10 days ago and the pain is just now leaving.
I expect, then, strange and intense happenings during these three days. Add these occultations to Pallas Athena and Mars standing still in the sky as they make their ponderous shift in direction on July 18 and 19, and its important to relax and to stay centered.
During daylight on July 17 the crescent moon occults Venus for observers across the country. The time is 2 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m. PDT. (Venus is often visible in daylight. Look near Moon before and after eclipse time for your zone.)
Also on July 17, Moon occults Saturn at 9:22 a.m. EDT. This is visible in South America.
On July 18, Moon occults Jupiter at 8:08 p.m. EDT. Visibility is in Indonesia and the Pacific.
And finally, on July 19, Moon occults Mercury at 9:17 a.m. EDT. This is visible in the Arctic and sub-arctic.
This is a lot of sky zaps in a short time. Take it easy, dont expect your usual performance, and notice how you react.
Its interesting that Moon has all these intimate conversations just before she gives us a second New Moon in Cancer! Home base is changing.