The star Antares, the “heart” of Scorpio, the Scorpion, is due south at midnight, shimmering a bright orangish-red. Antares was one of the four Royal Stars in Persian astronomy, marking the position of the Sun at the beginning of autumn thousands of years ago. You can see the head and shoulders of the Scorpion – a trio of stars – to the upper right.

The earliest sunrises of the year take place this week, before the longest days of the year. The Earth is farther from the Sun in June, causing it to orbit a little slower. However, it still spins on its axis at the same speed. That means it turns and faces the Sun a little more quickly, helping it to rise and shine earlier.

Very late tonight, a thinning Crescent Moon rises just to the left of Jupiter near 2:45 AM, climbing a bit higher and more easterly before the morning twilight overwhelms them by 4:30 or so. The Earth’s orbit shifts our viewing, bringing Jupiter into the skies 4 minutes earlier each day, or an hour earlier about every two weeks. It will be early September before we see Jupiter rise in the early evening.