The night skies are filled with events. Learn what was happening in astronomy during June and July of 1995.
1 Jupiter at opposition (opposite the sun in the sky, thus rising in the east at sunset and visible all night long). Look for Jupiter as by far the brightest point of light in the sky at nightfall. This is also the date in 1995 when this planet is closest to Earth and appears largest in telescopes. Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system—huge enough to contain about 1,000 Earths. Medium-size amateur telescopes should still be able to show dark streaks where some of the pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter last July. 3
3 Thirty years ago this day, Gemini 4 astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space.
4 Whit Sunday, Pentecost.
5 World Environment Day; in 1859, a frost occurred from Iowa to New England, with two inches of snow in Ohio.
6 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 6:26 A.M. EDT.
8 Jupiter closest to bright star Antares, which marks the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion (about half the width of your fist held out at arm's length still separates them); in 1966, a tornado killed 17 people and did $100 million of damage in Topeka, Kansas.
9 The Moon hides the bright star Spica around 11 P.M. PDT as seen from much of the western half of the U.S.
10 Ben Franklin allegedly performed his famous kite-in-the-thunderstorm experiment on this day in 1752.
11 King Kamehameha I Day in Hawaii.
12 Moon near Jupiter as they sink in the west before dawn.
13 FULL MOON, 12:03 A.M. This is the Strawberry Moon, Rower Moon, Rose Moon and possibly also the Honey Moon (see text of column)—expect high tides from it this year; temperature hit two degrees Fahrenheit in Tamarack, California on this day in 1907.
14 Rag Day; Jupiter due north of Antares for second of their three official conjunctions this year.
15 Corpus Christi; St. Vitus's Day (if rain today, then lore says also for 30 days); earliest sunrise (5:30 A.M. DST) for 40 degrees north latitude.
16 In 1963, Vostok 6 cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.
18 Father's Day; in 1983, Challenger Shuttle astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
19 LAST QUARTER MOON, 6:01 P.M. EDT.
20 West Virginia Day.
21 SUMMER SOLSTICE at 4:34 P.M. EDT—beginning of summer, longest day in Northern Hemisphere, day that Sun passes highest across sky at midnorthern latitudes; Sun enters constellation Gemini, 7 P.M. EDT.
22 St. Alban's Day; in 1972 the remains of Hurricane Agnes dumped 12 inches of rain on parts of Pennsylvania and New York, causing over $2 billion damage.
23 Midsummer's Eve, St. John's Eve.
24 Midsummer's Day, St. John's Day.
26 The Moon reaches its farthest from Earth for 1995.
27 NEW MOON, 8:50 P.M. EDT; in 1975, famous golfer Lee Trevino and two companions were struck and injured by lightning during a major tournament.
28 Latest sunset (8:33 P.M. DST) for 40 degrees north latitude; temperature hit 117°F. in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1980.
29 Mercury at greatest elongation west of the Sun (but higher after sunset in early July).
30 In 1908, a mysterious comet or meteor exploded over the Tunguska region of Siberia, devastating forests for dozens of miles.
1 Canada Day.
2 Midpoint of year, 1 P.M. DST in your time zone.
3 Battle of Gettysburg climaxed this day in 1863; Earth at aphelion (farthest from the Sun in space) but only about 1/30 farther than when closest in early January and Northern Hemisphere is tilted at almost its greatest toward the Sun, so we have some of our hottest days this month.
4 Independence Day.
5 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 4:02 P.M. EDT; Mercury highest in west-northwest after sunset - look for a delicate point of light actually rather low about 45 minutes after sundown.
6 Saturn begins westward motion in Aquarius Oust before reaching Pisces.
9 Temperature hit 106°F in Central Park in New York City on this day in 1936.
10 In 1913, temperature reached 134°F in Death Valley, California, the all-time high for the United States and the Western Hemisphere.
11 In 1979, the Skylab spacecraft made a fiery reentry into the atmosphere, littering pieces over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
12 FULL MOON (Thunder Moon or Hay Moon), 6:47 A.M. EDT.
13 In 1977, lightning hit a power line near Indian Creek, NY, causing a power outage which plunged New York City into darkness.
15 St. Swithin's Day.
16 Fiftieth anniversary of the first atom bomb test, in Alamogordo, New Mexico; Neptune at opposition and closest.
19 LAST QUARTER MOON, 7:10 A.M. EDT.
21 Uranus at opposition and closest.
23 In 1788, a hurricane's center passed over Mt. Vernon and was described by weather watcher George Washington in his diary.
24 Pioneer Day (in Utah).
27 NEW MOON, 11:13 A.M. EDT.
29 Peak of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower. For a number of nights around this date, people many miles from city lights can see as many as several dozen of these and other meteors"shooting stars"-zooming from the south in the hours after midnight if skies are clear. Set a lawn chair out and enjoy.
31 First vehicle was driven on the Moon on this date in 1971 (lunar rover driven by Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin).