Earth and Sky, Summer 1994

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Of the major earth and sky events occurring in July 1994, the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter could be the most notable.
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The sun enters the constellation Cancer on July 20.  
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Celebrate Flag Day on June 14th.   

The earth and sky have a lot of interest to offer. The following is a list of terrestrial and celestial events for the summer of 1994.


1 Last Quarter Moon, 12:03 A.M. EDT (occurs 1, 2, or 3 hours
earlier — thus on May 31– in the farther
Western time zones).

2 Corpus Christi.

3 World Environment Day.

6 Venus at its highest in West-Northwest at dusk for several
weeks around this time. The planet will remain visible in
the evening until early autumn. It is the brightest point
of light in the sky.

8 Venus 5° South of the star Pollux.

9 New Moon, 4:27 A.M. EDT; Muslim New Year (1415 A.H.) begins
at sunset (if moon is seen at dusk).

11 Venus forms a line with Pollux and Castor tonight (Moon to
lower left); King Kamehameha I Day in Hawaii.

12 Moon-Venus-Pollux-Castor line tonight.

14 Flag Day; earliest sunrise at 40° North latitude
— 5:30 A.M. daylight saving time (4:30 A.M. standard

15 St. Vitus Day (rain today means rain for 30 days in a row).
St. Vitus is supposed to have been put to death during the
reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian; Vitus’s help is invoked
in cases of epilepsy and “St Vitus’s Dance” (chorea).

16 First Quarter Moon, 3:56 P.M. EDT.

18 Saturn’s rings most near edge-on for 1994 (just 5° from
edge-on). To the naked eye, Saturn now appears as the
brightest point of light rising in the East-Southeast
around midnight or a little later.

19 Father’s Day.

20 Venus in Northern part of Beehive star cluster this evening
and tomorrow evening. Use binoculars to see the little
collection of stars glittering near and about tremendously
brighter Venus.

21 Summer Solstice, 10:49 A.M. EDT. This is the longest day of
the year — the best combination of early sunrise and
late sunset, though the very earliest sunrise and the very
latest sunset occur about a week earlier and a week later,
respectively, as seen from mid-Northern latitudes of Earth.
The June solstice is also when the Sun rises and sets
farthest North and passes higher in the United States sky
at 12:00 P.M. than at any other time of year. Sun enters
the astrological sign Cancer at the solstice. Sun enters
constellation Gemini, 1 P.M. EDT.

23 Full Moon (Rose Moon, Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon), 7:32
A.M. EDT — this is the lowest Full Moon of the year,
because Full Moon is always opposite from the Sun in the
sky and the Sun is now farthest North and at its highest.
Midsummer’s Eve (and St. John’s Day).

24 Midsummer’s Day (and St. John’s Day).

28 Latest sunset at 40° North latitude (8:33 P.M. daylight
saving time).

Last Quarter Moon (a second time this month in the Eastern
time zone), 3:32 P.M. EDT.


1 Canada Day

2 Midpoint of the year (at noon — actually 1 P.M.
daylight savings time — in your zone).

3 Dog Days begin according to one tradition, which says they
end August 11; climax of the Battle of Gettysburg (1863).

4 Independence Day. This day in 1776 Thomas Jefferson
reported that at 2 P.M. in Philadelphia it was cloudy with
a temperature of — what else? — 76°F.
Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Washington were all
avid weather-watchers who took temperature readings almost
every day for long periods of their lives.

5 Earth at aphelion (farthest from the Sun), 5 P.M. EDT.
Since Earth’s distance from the Sun doesn’t vary too
greatly, the amount by which one of its hemispheres is
tilted toward the Sun is more important in determining
weather. Right now the Northern hemisphere is tilted toward
the Sun by almost its maximum so we get hot weather. Also,
a pretty sight this morning, rather low in the East around
5 A.M.: the Moon just below Mars with the Pleiades star
cluster above them and the star Aldebaran somewhat below

8 New Moon, 5:37 P.M. EDT.

10 Venus 1.1° North of the star Regulus — a fine
conjunction, well up in the west at nightfall (the pair are
fairly close to each other for several days).

11 Moon fairly near Venus and Regulus this night.

14 Neptune at opposition (nearest to us and brightest for the
year–but you still need binoculars, country skies, and a
detailed map, such as in the April issue of Sky &
magazine); Bastille Day.

First Quarter Moon, 9:11 P.M. EDT; Moon passes very near
the star Spica about 10 P.M. EDT; St. Swithin’s Day.

16 Uranus at opposition (nearest to us and brightest for the
year, but not greatly brighter than Neptune — see
July 14 entry above — so same requirements are needed
to see it). Mercury at greatest elongation in morning sky
but quite low in the East-Northeast around 5 A.M.

A much easier sight than Uranus or Mercury is Jupiter. The
second brightest planet after Venus, Jupiter is fairly near
the Moon at nightfall. If you have a telescope, identify
and observe Jupiter tonight, in preparation for the coming
nights when pieces of a comet hit it.

18 Mars over 5° North of the star Aldebaran — look
for them, Mars slightly slightly dimmer, fairly low in the
East around 5 A.M. At nightfall turn a telescope on Jupiter
in hopes of seeing effects from the impact of pieces of
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 as they begin to hit. This series of
impacts — which go on for approximately 6 days
— may include a few blasts that will cause notable
changes in the clouds of Jupiter and their brightest moons
will be easy to see in any telescope. The impacts will all
occur just over the edge on the far side of Jupiter, but
their distortions of Jupiter’s clouds may last many
minutes, hours, days, months, or years!

20 Sun enters constellation Cancer.

22 Full Moon (Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, Buck Moon), 4:15 P.M.
EDT: Sun enters astrological sign Leo, 10 P.M. EDT.

23 Last pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter.

25 Twenty-fifth anniversary of the first moon landing:
Colonel Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin of NASA’s Apollo
11 mission.

30 Last Quarter Moon, 8:41 A.M. EDT.

31 Lammas Eve.