The Summer Solstice marks the start of calendar Summer in the northern hemisphere at 10:58 AM this morning. Posing for pictures this evening to mark the change in seasons, a waxing Crescent Moon joins the planet Venus in the west-northwest after 9 o’clock or so, getting lower but more spectacular to view by 10 o’clock.

The Crescent Moon continues to grow in the western twilight. By 10 o’clock, the last of the twilight gives way to the stars, including the realtively bright star see to the left of the Moon, Regulus, the “heart” of Leo, the Lion. Looking below and a bit right of the Moon, the slowly fading Mars completes an astronomical triangle of sorts.

With Summer now officially underway, look for Leo, the Lion lowering into the west as he takes his curtain call for the season. His bright star, Regulus, due west at 10 o’clock, was associated with the Summer Solstice over 5000 years ago, when the Sun passed right over the star. This has changed as the Earth’s axis very slowly pivots.