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

article image
PHOTO: NASA
The Mars Pathfinder lander being tested at the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

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

SEASONAL ALMANAC FOR JUNE 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.

27 LAST QUARTER MOON, 8:42 A.M. EDT.

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.

SEASONAL ALMANAC FOR JULY 1997

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).

12
FIRST QUARTER MOON, 5:44 P.M. EDT.

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).

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