The Seasonal Almanac: Astronomical Events and Nature June and July 1997

The Seasonal Almanac covers astronomical events and nature for June and July 1997.


The Mars Pathfinder lander being tested at the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory).


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The Seasonal Almanac shares astronomical events and nature in the months of June and July 1997. 


1 Moon near Saturn this morning.

3 Comet Hale-Bopp passes the bright star Betelgeuse, but both now appear too close to our line of sight with the Sun to see.

5 NEW MOON, 3:03 A.M. EDT.

6 Venus farthest north among the constellations

10 Jupiter begins retrograde (westward) motion against the background stars.

11 King Kamehameha 1 Day (Hawaii); Mars very close to star Beta Virginis tonight and tomorrow night (binoculars assist view).

13 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 12:51 A.M. EDT; Friday the 13th—the only instance of it in 1997, but it can happen 1, 2, or 3 times in a calendar year.

14 Flag Day; earliest sunrise (5:30 A.M. DST) for 40 degrees N latitude.

15 Father's Day. 20 FULL MOON, 3:09 P.M. EDT; West Virginia Day.

21 Summer solstice at 4:20 A.M. EDT; Sun enters astrological sign of Cancer at the solstice—but enters constellation Gemini about 3 hours later.

23 Midsummer's Eve or St. John's Eve.

24 Moon near Jupiter towards dawn; Midsummer's Day or St. John's Day.

25 Mercury at superior conjunction with Sun, hence unviewable.

26 Latest sunset (8:33 P.M. Daylight Saving Time) for 40 degrees N latitude.


28 Moon near Saturn this morning—as seen from extreme southeastern U.S., the Moon passes right in front of Saturn after sunrise (telescope required).

29 On this day in 1994, Death Valley, California and Lake Havasu City, Arizona both hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit—setting new record highs for June in the U.S., and new all—time record high for Arizona.


1 Canada Day 2 Midpoint of the year, 1 P.M. DST at your locality.

3 The hottest place in Canada this day in 1994 was north of the Arctic Circle.

4 Independence Day; NEW MOON, 2:40 P.M. EDT; Earth at aphelion (farthest from the Sun in space) at about 6 P.M. EDT—only about 1/29th farther from Sun than when closest back in January; Venus passes through the Beehive Star Cluster this evening and next (telescope required); Mars Pathfinder spacecraft lands on Mars, eventually releases automated rover.

5 On this day in 1900, lightning hit an oil refinery in Bayonne, NJ and spilled oil which kept Newark Bay on fire for 3 days.

6 Moon fairly close to Venus this evening. 7 A tornado was seen and photographed passing the Statue of Liberty this day in 1976, three days after the Bicentennial.

8 On this day in 1953, a tornado killed 116 people in Flint, Michigan.

9 On this day in 1953, a mile-wide tornado killed 90 people in Worcester,Massachusetts (New England's greatest tornado disaster).

10 On this day in 1926, lightning struck an ammunition supply at the U.S. Naval Depot in New Jersey: 16 people died, damage was $70 million, and debris was found up to 22 miles away.
11 Mercury passes through Beehive Star Cluster, but in bright twilight (very difficult sight even with telescopes).


13 On this evening in 1977, lightning striking a power line caused a night-long blackout of New York City.

14 Bastille Day.

15 St. Swithin's Day (according to legend, rain today will lead to 40 more days of rain in a row).

18 In 1889 on this date, the city of Rockport, West Virginia had 19 inches of rain in 2 hours and 10 minutes-a world record for so short a period—causing the water in a nearby creek to rise 22 feet in 1 hour; on this same date, but in 1942, the city of Smethport, Pennsylvania recorded 30.8 inches in 4 hours and 30 minutes another world record.

19 FULL MOON, 11:20 P.M. EDT.

20 Sun enters the constellation Cancer, noon EDT.

21 Neptune at opposition, hence visible all night long and brightest and biggest (but it still requires at least binoculars and a detailed star chart to locate this amazingly distant world); Moon near Jupiter this morning.

22 Venus passing just south of bright star Regulus in western sky at dusk today and tomorrow; Sun enters astrological sign Leo.

24 Pioneer Day (Utah).

25 Moon near Saturn this night.

26 LAST QUARTER MOON, 2:28 P.M. EDT; Mercury just south of Regulus this evening.

27 Mercury within 4 1/2 inches of Venus tonight and tomorrow night.

28 Uranus at opposition, biggest and brightest, tomorrow—but requires detailed star chart and preferably binoculars to find.

29 Spectacular hiding of star Aldeberan by Moon across contiguous U.S.—but visible before sunrise (and hence maybe with binoculars or even naked eye) only in western two-thirds of the country (elsewhere, a telescope and very clear skies are needed).

30 Delta Aquarid meteor shower near peak this week—look for meteors shooting out of the southeast in late evening and from the south in midnight and post-midnight hours (up to 20 or more per hour might be seen in a clear sky very far from city lights).

31 Saturn's rings most tilted for the year around now—12 degrees from horizontal, the most tilted (which is generally favorable) since 1993 (telescope needed to see rings, but naked eye shows Saturn as bright point of light rising in the east in middle of the night).