Summer is a time for fireworks — and you'll find plenty of celestial sparklers during July. Once it gets dark, low in the west you'll see three "stars". The brighter one is the planet Saturn. Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, and the red planet Mars are nearby. A crescent Moon joins them early in the month.
Jupiter, king of the planets, is opposite the Sun in the sky on July 9th, and in the weeks thereafter it rises sooner, dominating the eastern sky with its dazzling luster.
July is also the month when Earth is its farthest from the Sun. And early this month a new Moon helps to push our planet outward even farther.
To get a personally guided tour of these sights and others, hosted by S&T's Kelly Beatty, download this month's audio sky tour to your iPod or other handheld device — or just use your computer to play it.