Star Calendar Planets:
Moon will show only 1/7 of her fullness on the 7th of the 7th month. 7/7 is the date of the oriental star festival called Tanabata – when two lovers (stars Vega and Altair), separated by a river (the Milky Way), may be allowed to meet if the river vanishes. But that is unlikely this year since the Moon is too small (dim) to vanquish the river. However, terrestrial lights may very well do the job instead; Orihime and Hikoboshi are probably big fans of Light Pollution.
Mercury crosses behind the Sun on the 6th-7th and might just be seen at the end of the month in the evening. On the 30th, with a good view to the west, Venus should shine out by around 8:30 PM. Following her descent, Mercury should appear to her left, and Regulus might just be made out very close beneath Mercury – try binoculars. That will be the nearest planet-to-bright-star conjunction for the year.
Venus should be visible (west) in bright evening twilight after mid-month or so, but she sets by around 9:PM. Mercury will pass close by on the 16th, but the sky will likely be too bright to see him. Again, one might try binoculars.
Sun is at its highest on the 4th – in the sense of distance-from-the-ground or Aphelion. Might the Earth be deemed most independent then? Proximity of the Sun slightly exaggerates the Winter/Summer of the southern hemisphere – but tempers those seasons in the north. Ocean is preponderate in the south – and it tends to subdue the seasons by great thermal mass and circulation – while land masses respond more quickly to the solar input. At present the apsides rather subdue climate change – with a residual net warming; the last ice age is still finishing up – but as the apsides shift (over centuries), a net cooling will again glaciate the north. The effect of apsides is smallish on the earth – but is large on eccentric Mars.
Mars, still brighter than any star, now culminates (is highest, in the south) as dark falls. He shone like a flying cinder during our St. John’s bonfire.
Jupiter is brighter than Mars – but is lower and further west each day when he appears. He entertains the Moon on the 8th and 9th.
Saturn makes a huge triangle with equal-brilliance stars Arcturus and Vega (the latter is slightly brighter). Saturn will gradually be higher and more southerly at first appearance each evening as the month progresses. In August he will appear in a fashion similar (in position) to that of Mars this month.
Star Calendar Days:
1 Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:28/20:32 (15h4m daylight)
4 Aphelion at noon – Sun is 3% farther than in January
Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury between the knees of Gemini
Equinox on Mars, autumnal for northern part
7 Mercury at superior conjunction – crosses behind Sun
Moon beneath Regulus after sundown
Tanabata – oriental star festival of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair)
8-9 Moon near Jupiter in West at dusk
11 Moon between Mars and Jupiter, and beside Spica, SW in evening
14 Moon, Mars, Antares and Saturn make an oblong in South at 10:PM
16 Moon, Saturn and Mars make a line over Antares at 10:PM
19 Full Thunder or Hay Moon at 6:57PM
30 Perhaps find Mercury near dimmer Regulus as Venus sets, W around 9:PM
31 Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:51/20:13 (14h22m daylight)