Today finds the Earth at aphelion – its greatest distance from the Sun – at 94,506,364 miles. Yes, July is the hottest month of the year on average, but it is our tilted axis, angled toward the Sun in summer, and not our distance, that gives us longer days and more direct sunlight, increasing the temperatures.

Today is the “seventh day of the seventh Moon” – moons being months – and is the traditional day for cultures in the Far East to celebrate the story of the Goddess of Weaving and the Handsome Farmer, more familiar to us as the Summer Triangle, directly overhead shortly after 1 AM EDT.

Tonight near midnight, the bluish-white star Vega is nearly overhead, while the brilliant pale-orange Arcturus is about half way up from the horizon in the west. Between, about two thirds of the way from Arcturus up to Vega, a bow-tie shaped pattern of stars can be found, outlining the figure of Hercules.