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Bruce McClure

August 6 and 7 before sunup: Moon in Taurus

These next 2 mornings – August 6 and 7, 2018 – you’ll find the moon in front of Taurus the Bull, near its 2 most prominent signposts: the bright star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster.

Summer Triangle on August evenings

The Summer Triangle is a fixture of our skies at this time of year. Its 3 stars are Vega, Deneb and Altair.

Find the Teapot, and the galaxy’s center

The center of our Milky Way galaxy is located in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius with its famous Teapot asterism. This is a good time of year to look for it.

Arc to Arcturus and spike Spica

Right now, the planets Venus and Jupiter – and the Big Dipper – can help you learn the sky mnemonic follow the arc to Arcturus and drive a spike to Spica.

How far is a light-year?

How can we comprehend the distances to the stars? This post explains light-years in terms of a scale of miles and kilometers.

The cycle of close and far Martian oppositions

Like so much in the sky, very close approaches of Mars happen in cycles. Become a Mars guru, here.

Mars closest to Earth on July 30-31

Closer than since 2003! Even closer now than when we passed between Mars and the sun last Friday. How that can happen, and the prospects for viewing Mars through a telescope now.

Middle of an eclipse season on July 28

An eclipse season lasts a little over one lunar month and typically includes 1 solar and 1 lunar eclipse. In 1 out of 7 eclipse seasons, the 1st eclipse comes early. Then we can have 3 eclipses. Watch for a 3rd eclipse in this eclipse season, in August!

Century’s longest lunar eclipse July 27

It’ll be the longest total lunar eclipse of this century, with Mars – at its brightest – nearby. Red moon, red Mars. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Mars will reach opposition on July 27

Earth passes between Mars and the sun on July 27, 2018 (night of July 26 for the Americas). It’s best time to see Mars in some 15 years. Plus … the moon gets in on the act.