Sky Spy: Watch for planet spectacles in July

2013-07-11T00:00:00Z Sky Spy: Watch for planet spectacles in JulyTim Hunter Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Moon Watch

The moon is a waxing (growing larger) crescent. First quarter is Monday. The sun sets at 7:33 pm tonight.

For most of July both the early morning sky and the early evening sky will have "stellar" planetary shows.

Look toward the west at 8 tonight to see the almost four-day-old crescent moon 15 degrees above the horizon.

To the right (north) of the moon is ever-brilliant Venus. Above the moon is Regulus in Leo the Lion.

The moon and Regulus will form the short base of an isosceles triangle with its apex at Venus. Higher above the moon and just above Regulus is the backward "question mark" of five stars along with Regulus that make up the front part of Leo the Lion. Higher above the horizon is the triangle of three stars that make up the back part of the Lion. Leo will soon be leaving our evening skies.

Keep an eye on Venus after sunset for the next two weeks. Venus is moving closer to Regulus and will actually move above Regulus by July 22.

Venus and Regulus will be low in the sky with Regulus becoming more difficult to see every day. If you have trouble finding Regulus, look for it with binoculars.

Venus and Regulus are not the only show in the sky. In the morning sky Mars and Jupiter will put on quite a display for the next few weeks.

It can be hard to get up early before sunrise but give it a try. Friday morning from 4:45 to 5:15 look along the eastern horizon a little north of due east. Jupiter will be about 10 degrees above the horizon with Mars above Jupiter another 4 degrees.

They will be somewhat challenging to see in the brightening twilight. Have binoculars ready for help.

Contact Tim Hunter at skyspy@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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