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Sunday, July 29, 2012



All week, watch Mars move in on Saturn and Spica at dusk.

Friday, July 27

  • Mars has crept to within 11° of Saturn and Spica, on its way to passing between them in mid-August.
  • Look left of the Moon this evening (by a fist-width at arm's length or more) for the orange-red supergiant star Antares. Closer left of the Moon are the three fainter stars that mark the head of Scorpius, lined up about vertically.
  • Before or during dawn Saturday morning, telescope users near North America's West Coast can see Jupiter's satellites Io and Europa both casting their tiny black shadows onto Jupiter's face from 4:45 to 5:33 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Saturday, July 28
  • Fiery Antares shines lower right of the waxing gibbous Moon tonight. Sunday, July 29
  • Before and during dawn Monday morning, Jupiter is closest to Aldebaran. They're 4.7° apart, with Aldebaran to Jupiter's lower right. Monday, July 30
  • The waxing gibbous Moon this evening hangs over the handle of the Sagittarius Teapot. Tuesday, July 31
  • During early dawn Wednesday and Thursday mornings, look low in the east to spot brilliant Venus, magnitude –4.6. Look 2° upper left of it (roughly a finger's width at arm's length) for Zeta Tauri, magnitude 3.0. That's a brightness difference of just over 1,000 times! Binoculars will be necessary as dawn brightens Wednesday, August 1
  • Full Moon tonight (exact at 11:27 p.m. EDT). The Moon is in dim Capricornus. Shining high above it is Altair

  • Thursday, August 2
  • Arcturus is the brightest star in the west after dark at this time of year. It and Vega, almost overhead, are the two leading stars of summer. Look off to the right of Arcturus, in the northwest, to spot the Big Dipper dipping down.

  • Friday, August 3
  • As summer enters its second half, the Summer Triangle approaches its greatest height in the evening. Face east and look almost straight up after nightfall. The brightest star there is Vega. Toward the northeast from Vega (by two or three fist-widths at arm's length) is Deneb. Toward the southeast from Vega by a greater distance is Altair

  • Saturday, August 4
  • The waning gibbous Moon rises in the east as twilight fades into night. Look left or upper left of it for the Great Square of Pegasus, balancing on one corner. 

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