If you look straight up at 9:45 PM this evening, within the gossamer light of the Milky Way shines the star Deneb, the least bright of the trio of stars forming the Summer Triangle. In spite of its comparative brightness, it actually reigns as a stellar powerhouse, emitting 200 thousand times more light than the Sun!

Early morning risers have likely been impressed by the rising Venus, but the next few mornings offer another treat just as twilight begins to blush along the eastern horizon. Mercury climbs a little higher each morning this week, reaching its best morning views of the year, seen close to due east from 5:30 through 6 o’clock.

Low in the southwest this evening, a waxing Crescent Moon hangs low over the southwest horizon, while a modestly bright star appears well to its right, with the curious name Zubenelgenubi, which means “southern claw” in Arabic. Above it shines Zubeneschamali, the “northern claw”. Claws of what? The Scorpion, well to their left, and its bright red star, Antares.