Saturn has made it into the evening skies – just barely! The great ringed-world rises above a perfectly level east-southeast horizon at 11:49 PM, though it won’t realistically be observed until after midnight. By the first hints of twilight tomorrow morning, Saturn climbs to one third of the way up in the south-southeast, well above a moderately bright star, Fomalhaut.
The two brightest stars in our summer skies – Arcturus, high in the south, and Vega, high in the east – guide you to a much fainter star group, Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Look one third of the way from Arcturus toward Vega, and you will see a faint semi-circle of stars, with a brighter one in the middle. This is Gemma, the jewel in the crown.
A waxing Gibbous Moon can be found this afternoon near 5:45 PM, about one third of the way up in the southeast. By the time the sun sets, the Moon will progress to due south at 8:45 PM, heading for the southwest, where a bright star emerges below the Moon, the steely-blue Spica, the brightest star in the zodiacal constellation Virgo, the Virgin.