Mid year can be a rather disappointing month for the star gazer as the sky never really becomes totally dark at this time of year.
The Plough is still high up but is now somewhat to the west of the overhead point. The ‘W’ of Cassiopeia is becoming higher in the east. The summer triangle of bright stars; Altair, Deneb and Vega are becoming higher in the East.
Arcturus in Bootes is now at its highest point in the south. Spica in Virgo can still be found following the curve from the handle of the Plough past Arcturus, but it is now past its best and is becoming lower in the south west. Regulus in Leo is dropping towards the west.
The southern part of the sky is now becoming dominated by three large faint groups, Hercules, Ophiuchus and Serpens However, there is brilliant newcomer, Antares, the brightest star in Scorpio, which appears low in the sky in the south. Antares is often referred to as ‘The Rival of Mars’ due to its bright red colour.
Jupiter has been in the night sky throughout the spring months. It is the bright white star like object, which has dominated the evening sky. Now it is beginning to drop away to the west and is still very noticeable, but this will be the last month when it can be easily seen.
In the south but low in the sky is the bright planet Mars. It is nearly as bright as Jupiter on the other side of the sky. Just to the left of Mars will be a slightly less bright object. This is the star Antares. When these two are this close in the sky, you can compare their different shades of red.
In the southern part of the sky look for the ring world Saturn. It can be located to the left of Mars and above Antares, but you will have to wait until around midnight to see all these three objects in the sky.
The planets Mercury and Venus are both too close to the Sun to be observed.
On the 9th of this month a crescent Moon lies to the right of Regulus in the evening. The following night the crescent Moon lies to the left of Regulus..
On the 14th the Moon will be sitting above Spica.
Phases of the Moon will be:-
New Moon 5th, First Quarter 12th, Full Moon 20th, Last Quarter 27th
Not really an astronomical feature but a prominent during summer evenings are Noctilucent Clouds
They are formed in the highest reaches of the atmosphere around 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. They are made of ice crystals that form on fine dust particles. They can only form when temperatures are incredibly low and when there’s water available to form ice crystals.
The summer solstice occurs on the 20th of this month when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky during the year and we have the longest period of daylight.