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Altair and Aquila the Eagle

In the east, after dark on July evenings, look for the bright star Altair fairly close to the horizon. Altair is the brightest star in the constellation Aquila.

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Deneb and Cygnus the Swan

Deneb is the northernmost star in the Summer Triangle asterism. Its constellation Cygnus the Swan flies along the starlit trail of the Milky Way.

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Vega and its constellation Lyra

The Summer Triangle consists of three bright stars in three different constellations. The brightest is Vega in the constellation Lyra.

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Star of the week: Vega

One of the prettiest stories in all skylore surrounds this star. “On the 7th night of the 7th moon … “

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Sun enters Cancer on July 20

You may know that the sun enters the sign Cancer every year at the June solstice. The sun enters the constellation Cancer a month later, on or near July 20.

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What’s special about a full moon?

You know it when you see it, but what makes a full moon full?

Full moonrise by Mohamed Laaifat Photographies in Normandy, France.

Full Buck Moon on July 19

We in North America won’t see the moon at the instant that it turns full at 2257 UTC (5:57 p.m. CDT). But just wait for sunset … and moonrise.

Tom Stirling in Kennebunk, Maine, calls this photo Sea of Serenity. He caught the waxing gibbous moon from his driveway on June 15, 2016.

Moon’s dark side faces Earth

Strange as it may seem, the moon’s dark side is its near side.

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Gaze toward Milky Way center on July 17

Sure, the moon’s glare will obscure our view the stars tonight. Still, a glance up at tonight’s moon is a look in direction to the center of our galaxy.

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Where’s the moon? Waxing gibbous

You might notice a waxing gibbous moon in the afternoon in the next few days. It’ll be ascending in the east as the sun is descending in the west.

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Eltanin and Rastaban, the Dragon’s Eyes

These two famous stars shine down from the northern sky. Eltanin and Rastaban represent the fiery Eyes of the constellation Draco the Dragon.

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Mercury-Venus conjunction on July 16

On July 16, 2016, an awesome conjunction of our sun’s 2 innermost planets, only half a degree (a moon diameter) apart. Will you be able to spot it?

The moon swings close to the ringed planet Saturn on July 15. Read more.

Moon, Saturn, Antares on July 15

Saturn is the jewel of our solar system, and Antares is a giant among stars. Read about them here.

Image via New Forest Observatory

Coathanger: Looks like its name

The Coathanger star cluster really looks like a coat hanger and is easy to make out through binoculars. The star Albireo is your ticket to finding it.

Watch for the moon to swing close to Mars on July 14 and then Saturn on July 15. Read more.

Moon, Mars, Saturn on July 14-16

Mars is brighter than Saturn, and Saturn is brighter than a nearby bright star, Antares in the constellation Scorpius.

Photo by Jack Fusco

Perseid meteor shower ahead

2016 is a great year for the Perseid meteor shower. Watch on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13, in the hours before dawn.

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Moon approaching Mars on July 13

If you miss the moon and Mars tonight, try tomorrow night! Also, the moon will move on to pair up with Saturn on July 15.

David S. Brown caught this meteor on July 30, 2014, in southwest Wyoming.

Delta Aquarid meteor shower ahead

Delta Aquarid shower officially begins July 12, with a nominal peak July 28 or 29. The shower is long and rambling. If you watch the Perseids in August, you’ll see Delta Aquarids then, too.

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Moon still near Spica on July 12

As sunset closes curtains on the day, and the darkening skies bring out a myriad of far-off suns, let the moon introduce you to a very special star.

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Where’s the moon? First quarter

A first quarter moon rises at noon and is high overhead at sunset. It sets around midnight.