The night sky this week

Every Monday I pick the Northern Hemisphere (Northern Central Latitudes) sky high points for the coming week, but make sure you do that Check out my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses, and more.

This week’s night sky: 3rd – 9th July 2023

This week sees the rise of the first “supermoon” of 2023. Although a term that has its roots in astrology, the specter of a slightly larger (and significantly brighter) full moon causes many to head out to watch a fabulous moonrise. That makes supermoons okay for me. The “Buck Supermoon” is actually the first of four supermoons this year, the others occurring on August 2nd, August 31st and September 29th, 2023.

The full moon may dominate the eastern night sky this week, but don’t forget to watch Venus at its most beautiful on the opposite side of the sky after sunset.

Monday, July 3: Full Buck Supermoon

The “buck moon,” the first full moon of summer in the northern hemisphere, will also be the first of four supermoons in 2023, albeit the furthest from Earth at 361,934 km. Best seen during moonrise on Sunday 2 July 2023, just before it is 100% full.

Thursday, July 6: Earth is at its furthest point from the Sun and a countdown to a Ring of Fire eclipse

Today is Earth’s aphelion, when our planet is furthest from the Sun in its slightly elliptical annual orbit than ever before. Also, there is now 100 days until an annular solar eclipse – known as the “Ring of Fire” – in North America. The event will culminate on October 14, 2023, when 90% of the Sun’s center will be covered by the Moon, as seen from a 100-mile-wide path from Oregon to Texas and on to Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Saturday, July 7 (just after midnight): Moon and Saturn

Just after midnight in the early morning hours of July 7, an 80% illuminated waxing domed Moon will rise in the eastern night sky, with ringed planet Saturn about 3° above.

Saturday, July 7 (after sunset): Mars, Venus and Regulus

To the west, after dark, there’s a nice sight of very bright Venus beneath reddish Mars and bright star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo and some 79 light-years from the solar system.

Sunday, July 9: Venus at its brightest in 2023

As seen from Earth, Venus’ position will change dramatically this summer. On July 9, it will be at its best as a bright “evening star” near the horizon, just before it begins its retreat. It will soon be bathed in the sun’s brilliance, only to reappear as a brilliant ‘morning star’ in the predawn sky, reaching its peak brightness on September 18th.

Object of the week: Venus

As an inner planet, Venus appears to us to have phases on Earth. For now, it’s fading as it begins to dip into the harsh sunlight. Point a small telescope at the bright, cloudy planet and you’ll see it as a 25% illuminated crescent. Unfortunately, this crescent moon is not visible to the naked eye or through binoculars.

The times and dates given are for mid-northern latitudes. The most accurate location-specific information can be found in online planetariums such as Stellarium And The SkyLive. Check over Planet Rise/Planet Set, Sunrise sunset And Moonrise/Moonset Times for where you are.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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