July is time to say good-bye to the classic constellation Leo, the Lion. The bright star on Leo’s shoulder, Regulus, due west at 9:30 PM EDT, settling lower as the twilight fades by 10 o’clock. All of Leo settles lower each evening, and by late in the month, drops below the horizon.
Tonight’s nearly Full Moon rises in the southeast, positioned directly opposite the Sun. This means the Moon rises close to sunset, and is also opposite where we see the Sun in summer, following a path similar to the winter sun, very low over the southern horizon through the night. The Full “Buck” Moon occurs tomorrow morning at 7:39 AM.
The Dog Days of summer traditionally start today. The term goes back to Roman times, and doesn’t concern the family pet, but the celestial “dog” in the skies. The Dog Days come when the Sun is closest to the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, knick-named the “Dog Star”. We see this star in the winter as the nose of the Great Dog, companion to Orion.