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Poor Will's Almanack: July 31 - August 6, 2018

late summer sunset
Till Westermayer
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Now in the sign of Leo, the Sun follows the ecliptic down more quickly toward autumn equinox, and time seems to accelerate as the days shorten.. Throughout its residence in Cancer, the Sun moved only a small fraction of the way toward September. Under Leo through late July and middle August, it descends three times more rapidly than it did in Early Summer, toward Virgo and Early Fall. And by the start of the second week of August, it will be one third of its way to autumn.

As the day wanes toward Late Summer all four major planets are visible after dark this month, providing some compensation for the lengthening nights,. Venus in Virgo is the brightest evening star due west after sunset, followed by Jupiter in Libra in the southwest. Saturn, riding with Sagittarius along the southern horizon, follows Jupiter, and Capricorn holds Mars in the southeast.

And as those planets fall beneath the horizon, the Black-Eyed Susan Moon  comes from the east and rises up overhead during the earliest morning hours, defiant and indifferent to the waning Sun, gibbous and bright throughout the first days of August.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Summer. In the meantime, go outside after sunset, look for Venus the brightest star in the west, Jupiter, the most prominent light in the southwest, and then Saturn  and then Mars, a procession of complements to the early August sky.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.