Star Watch

Star Watch for Summer 2021

The WCSU Planetarium and Observatory facility remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please check later in the summer for updates. Meanwhile, please use the Sky Calendar (below) during the summer to help you find interesting celestial objects and events.



*, !, !! – interesting to very interesting celestial event

E –  calendar or geometry- related event (such as an equinox)

Date Note Description
June 2 Last Quarter Moon
7 The moon reaches apogee at 252,418 miles from Earth.
10 !! New Moon. A solar eclipse event will be visible as a partial eclipse from Danbury, between sunrise (5:20 a.m. EDT) and the event’s end at 6:32 a.m. The eclipse will have already started at sunrise; the Moon’s largest “bite” out of the Sun (73%) will occur at 5:33 a.m. when the Sun’s altitude is only 1.6 degrees! However, at the end of the partial eclipse, the Sun’s altitude will be 11.3 degrees, so it may be possible to get a few observations between those times. Make sure you are in a place with a clear view toward the east-northeast direction.

One of the safest ways to observe a partial solar eclipse is to look away from the Sun! If you photograph the shade under a tree during the partial eclipse, you will see hundreds of bright crescents! If a tree is not available, face away from the Sun and hold up a colander; you will see bright crescents in the hole pattern. A friend could help project the colander pattern onto a large piece of cardboard or foamboard; larger images can be gotten by moving  the board away from the colander.

The website is a good source of information about solar eclipses and how to safely observe them. The Sun is just too bright to observe directly as an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed form without protection. Please don’t risk permanent damage to your eyes!

11 * The thin crescent Moon passes near the brilliant planet Venus. Look low in the west-northwest after sunset.
13 * The planet Mars is right below thr crescent Moon; look west after sunset.
17 First Quarter Moon
20 E The summer solstice occurs at 11:32 p.m. EDT.
23 The moon reaches perigee at 223,666 miles from Earth
24 FULL Strawberry MOON
July 1 Last Quarter Moon
5 E Earth reaches aphelion at 94,510,886 miles from the Sun. Also: the Moon reaches apogee at 251,867 miles from Earth.
9 New Moon
10 ! Look WNW after sunset to see a close conjunction of Venus and dimmer Mars. The two planets get closer each night: closest (0.54 degree) on July 12.
 12 ! The Venus-Mars pair, the crescent Moon and the star Regulus make a nice triangle in the W evening twilight sky.
17 First Quarter Moon
21 Moon reaches perigee, 226,502 miles from Earth.
24 * Near-full moon passes near Saturn and Jupiter
25 * Waning gibbous moon passes near Jupiter
31 Last Quarter Moon
Aug. 2 The Moon reaches apogee at 251,289 miles from Earth.
2 ! Saturn reaches opposition, rising in the east at sunset and visible all night.
8 New Moon
11 Conjunction of crescent moon and Venus (look W in evening twilight; Venus lower)
11-12 ! Look between the northeastern horizon and overhead after midnight on each of the dates for meteors in the Perseid shower. Moonlight will not interfere with the viewing this year as the moon sets in early evening. An observer in a dark location might expect to see 50 meteors per hour.
15 First Quarter Moon
17 The moon reaches perigee at 229,363 miles from Earth.
19 ! Jupiter reaches opposition, rising from the east at sunset and visible all night.
20 Conjunction of Saturn and the Moon
22 ! FULL Sturgeon MOON
29 The Moon reaches apogee at 251,096 miles from Earth.
30 Last Quarter Moon
Sept. 1 * Look west during evening twilight to see brilliant Venus, with bright Mercury to its lower right.
6 New Moon
8 * Mercury will be below the thin crescent Moon during evening twilight.
9 Conjunction of Venus and Moon
10 ! Look west in evening twilight to see an alignment of the following celestial objects (looking from lowest right to highest left): Mercury, the blue star Spica, Venus and the crescent Moon.
11 Moon reaches perigee at 228,951 miles from Earth.
13 First Quarter Moon
14 Mercury reaches greatest elongation, 27 degrees east of the Sun. It will look like a tiny quarter moon in a telescope
16 Conjunction of Saturn and the Moon (Saturn above)
18 Conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon (Jupiter above)
20 FULL Harvest MOON
22 E The autumnal equinox occurs at 3:21 p.m. (EDT)
26 Moon reaches apogee at 251,432 miles from Earth.
28 Last Quarter Moon