Tour July’s Sky! | July 1st, 2010

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S&T: Lauren Darby
For us northerners, July is a time of long hot days and short nights. It’s been only a few weeks since the June solstice, so the sky takes its time getting fully dark.

As the month opens, there’s an interesting parade going on in the western evening sky. Look about an hour after sunset, and you’ll see brilliant Venus, dazzling and unmistakable. Extending to its upper left is a line of three other stars, all about the same brightness and equally spaced. The whole celestial line-up is four times the width of your fist held at arm’s length.

Looking south, you’ll find the stars of Scorpius. This is one of those constellations that really looks like its namesake. Start by finding the bright star that marks the Scorpion’s heart. This reddish star is Antares, which means “rival of Mars.”

In late evening, Jupiter rises in the east just about when Saturn is setting in the west. But you’ll need to be patient: look around midnight at the beginning of July, and about 10:30 by month’s end.

Get a play-by-play description of these skywatching treats by downloading July's audio sky tour. It's a 5-megabyte MP3 file that's 5 minutes long.

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