Be sure to take a look at the pretty triangle of first Quarter moon, Saturn to the upper right of the moon, and the bright star Spica to the upper left of the moon tonight. Tomorrow, the moon will be to the left of Spica. Even with your unaided eye, you'll see another star right next to Saturn. That's a pretty double star in Virgo named Porrima.
Stay up past midnight and you can watch Jupiter rise. If you want to see the asteroid Vesta, you will have to wait until after midnight too, and you'll need a dark location with good southern horizons. I had a look at Vesta over the weekend. It just took binoculars and knowing where to look. You can see where to look ( in the low southern constellation Capricornus) in my July What's Up video. http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=JPLnews#grid/uploads (or if you are familiar with star charts, this one in Astronomy magazine is good: http://is.gd/jWxX1b) It will be a little brighter next month, but you'll still have to wait until nearly midnight or later for a good view of the constellation Capricornus.
This is the weekend for our public star parties and we'll be showcasing the moon and Saturn. Your Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers will be taking telescopes out to Pasadena's Old Town area Friday night – right on Colorado Blvd between Fair Oaks and Pasadena Avenues. Some others of our group will be out at Duarte's Pamela Park ( 2236 Goodall Avenue, Duarte, CA ) Friday night from 8-10 p.m. Saturday night we'll be showing the same two objects at Monrovia's Library Park. This will be the last month for decent evening Saturn viewing until next year.
Now, if you have a Harry Potter fan in the family, you might enjoy reading (or observing) all the astronomical Potter Objects. Sidewalk astronomers Caroline, Elizabeth, Catherine and I researched, field tested, and wrote a fun observing list a few years ago. I just dusted it off for the new movie coming out soon. I even added constellations for the Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor's Leo, Slytherin's Serpens (or Hydra, take your pick), Ravenclaw's Aquila, and Hufflepuffs … Badger? How about Vuplecula the fox, Lupus the wolf, or Lynx the Lynx as a badger constellation standin? http://is.gd/V51sxo
Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
What's Up For July? Asteroids