Our Sun is a nuclear furnace, 855,000 miles in diameter and about 93 million miles distant from planet Earth. A lot of scientific literature is misleading and science will probably never completely understand the complexities of star (for that is what our Sun is!) operation. We do know that it's hydrogen to helium fusion that powers the Sun and that our Sun is approximately 4.5 billion years old (out of maybe a 10 billion-year lifespan) and it's classified by scientists as a "main sequence" star, like billions of other observable stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Its radiation is what ultimately powers the Earth; more on this in future columns.

This month, we have two bright morning "stars," Venus (now at greatest brilliancy as a morning "star") and Jupiter. And we have two evening "stars," Mars and Saturn (both in Virgo and Saturn near the star Spica).

Constellations include Virgo (the maiden), Libra (the scales) and Scorpio (the scorpion), one of the largest constellations in the night sky this month. Overhead, notice Lyra (the harp), with Vega as its brightest star, the Corona Borealis (the Northern Crown), Bootes (the herdsman), with Arcturus prominent.

We have only one significant meteor shower this month, the Delta Aquarid, pre-dawn and after the Moon sets on July 30. Better "heavenly fireworks" will occur on Wednesday evening.

See you next month!