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.

While the King and the Queen, Cepheus and Cassiopeia languish near the northern horizon, Draco, the Dragon has slithered higher into the northeast. Though his stars aren’t overly bright, look for his tail starting between the Big and Little Dippers, then curving around the Little Dipper to the right and down.