Beyond the Weather: Mid-July planets

Image from Stellarium
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Heat and humidity are not a friend when out for a night looking at the stars. The sky is not as clear as a cool, crisp winter’s night. Since winter’s clearing is months away, we will look for some easy-to-spot items beyond the weather for the middle of the month.

The moon is always an easy target. In the western sky, about one hour after sunset, the moon will be progressing through the waxing crescent phase. Each night from Saturday through Monday, the moon will be a bit higher off the horizon.

Also in the western sky near the moon at this time will be two planets to spot. Mercury will be very low on the horizon, while Venus shines brightly higher in the sky.

As the moon begins to approach the first quarter phase, look for it in the southwest sky later at night. At this time you will find the planet Jupiter to the left of the moon and the star Spica to the right of the moon.

Happy stargazing!