If you've ever lived near an ocean, you might be aware that the highest tides occur near new moon and full moon. That's because the sun and moon line up in regards to planet Earth. But, although the sun is many times more massive than our moon, both have a nearly identical gravitational attraction with Earth, because the moon is much closer.

This is the last month we have Mars and Saturn as evening "stars." Both are in close proximity and in Virgo (the maiden), which has entered the sun as a zodiacal sign. Venus and Jupiter dominate the morning sky before sunrise. Jupiter is in Taurus (the bull) and now rises about midnight. It won't be many months until it, too, is an evening "star." Until then, we'll have no evening "stars."

The evening sky boasts Aquarius (the water carrier), Capricorn (the goat) and Sagittarius (the archer), and a broad swath of the Milky Way, our own galaxy, seen edge on. Cygus (the swan) and the Northern Cross are still overhead and the great square of Pegasus (the flying horse) is now visible, too. Autumn begins Sept. 22, the earliest first day of fall since 1896.

See you next month!