Very high in the north, nearly overhead, the seven stars of the Big Dipper, while close to the northern horizon, with a low and level view, you find the stars of the Queen, Cassiopeia, in the form of a “W”-shaped pattern. The Big Dipper and the Queen are always opposite each other, with the North Star directly between them. Six months later, in November, they switch positions.

As the Moon reaches its New phase, permitting dark evening skies, it’s a good time to locate the famous but rather faint constellation, Hercules. Looking due east near 11:00 PM, and on a line between Arcturus high in the southeast and Vega in the east, you may find the “keystone” figure of stars that marks the ancient Greek hero.

Mercury reaches its Greatest Western Elongation, which means its maximum separation from the Sun. However, two things conspire to make the nearest planet to the Sun almost impossible to see. The Earth is tilting more toward the Sun as summer approaches, causing our view of the planets’ orbits to lower toward the horizon. In addition Mercury’s tilted orbit shifts it even lower.