Over the coming weekend we can enjoy the always entrancing sight of a slowly fattening Moon.

First published in Opinion The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

To be perfectly honest, at the moment there's not a lot to see ‘up there’ after sunset. Because sunset is so late, and sunrise so early, it never gets dark during the few hours inbetween; only the brightest stars can be seen, everything else is drowned out by the bright, lingering twilight.

But that's not to say there's nothing to see! Over the coming weekend we can enjoy the always entrancing sight of a slowly fattening Moon drifting towards and then past a couple of bright planets at dusk. After sunset on Saturday (July 5) look out for the First Quarter (i.e. half full) Moon shining to the lower right of Mars; 24 hours later the slighty larger Moon will have passed Mars, and be lying around halfway between it and yellow-hued Saturn, which is over to the Red Planet's upper left. After sunset on Monday, the not-far-off-Full Moon will be snuggled up very close to Saturn, beneath it and to its right. Come Tuesday evening, the fickle Moon will have left Saturn and Mars behind...

Having watched this graceful, slow motion celestial fly-by, remember to keep an eye open for those elusive noctilucent clouds to the north around midnight. The biggest and brightest displays often happen in July.

Stuart Atkinson, Eddington AS of Kendal

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