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Evening Planets:

Saturn finally breaks the void of bright planets in the evening sky. The planet rises about 1 hour before Midnight in the SE.  The planet brightens up a bit as the month progresses. By the end of the month, Saturn is rising around 10 pm. Saturn is slowly moving into position for a late summer / autumn evening showing.

Jupiter follows Saturn lead. In the beginning of July, the planet rises about 1 hour after Midnight in the East. Each evening, Jupiter is rising earlier. Also, as the month progresses, the planet has a nice increase in brightness. Around mid-month, the planet rises around Midnight. Then Jupiter makes the switch to an (late) evening planet. By the end of the month, Jupiter is rising about 1 hour before Midnight. Jupiter is slowly positioning itself for a fine autumn evening showing.

Morning Planets:

Mars rises about 1 ½ hours after Midnight in the East at the beginning of the month. As the month progresses, the planet also has a gain in brightness. By the end of the month, Mars rises about ½ hour after Midnight.

Venus rises well after Dawn breaks in the East. The planet manages to hold onto its brightness but is very slowly losing altitude. Being in the bright glow of Dawn is not helping the planet’s visibility. The planet will remain in this relatively poor position until September.

Mercury can be seen with great difficulty rising in the East about 30 minutes before Sunrise. The planet quickly dives into the glare of the oncoming Sunrise and is lost from view around the 4th of July. The morning planetary alignment from last month has now ended.

2 Jul Waxing Crescent Moon right of bright star Regulus, Dusk

7 Jul Moon upper left of bright star Spica, Dusk

10 Jul Waxing Gibbous Moon upper left of bright star Antares, Evening

19 Jul Moon lower left of Jupiter, Dawn

21 Jul One day past Last Quarter Moon just right of Mars, Dawn

26 Jul Thin Crescent Moon above Venus, Dawn

29 – 30 Jul Southern Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower

South Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower:

On the night of 29 -30  July, the South Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower will happen. The one-day old Crescent Moon will set about 9 pm, leaving the night sky Moon free. The placement of this meteor shower is not that favorable for our region. The meteor shower is predicted Not to produce hardly any meteors in the evening sky. After 1 am, the meteor shower activity is expected to pick up slowly. The predicted number of meteors is about 7 per hour just before Dawn breaks. This weak meteor shower is known to produce some “relatively” slow moving meteors which on occasion leave yellow-colored trains.

However, we have a possible bonus wild card during the Aquariids. A minor weak meteor shower, the Alpha Capricornids is also active on the same night. The unreliable Capricornids are predicted to produce about 5 meteors per hour. What makes this minor meteor shower such a wild card is; on occasion, it been known to produce a few bright fireballs. Once and a while these few bright fireballs may be yellow in color and bright enough to caste quick fleeting shadows. The Capricornids Minor Meteor Shower is often times unfavorable for our viewing area due to the lack of activity. However, this minor weak meteor shower could possibly surprise us with a few rare bright fireballs.

Gary T. Nowak

Vermont Astronomical Society