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E - 134: Night Sky this Summer

Updated: Apr 16, 2021


The Magnificent Night Sky over the Open Sea


During our trip this summer, there will be several night crossings where we will be on the open sea. We will thus enjoy a spectacular night sky, undisturbed from any city light nearby. It is one of the most beautiful things to watch – the Milky Way stretching from one end of the horizon to the other. It is also easy to navigate with the stars as we did when sailing from Sardinia to Sicily last year.


So what are we going to see this summer? In Calabria on 17 July 2021, the sun rises at 05.48 am and sets at 20.18 pm. It will be pitch dark from 22.08 pm to 03.57 am – the best time to observe the stars. Over the four weeks the dark night will expand by 20 minutes as we are already beyond the solstice. If you are interested in the precise timing during your part of the trip, go to the following site:



It lets you calculate all this for the date, time and location you wish. I used it for this blog – it is easy to use – great design!

The Moon during our trip


During the four weeks of our journey from Malta to Athens, we will enjoy the full cycle of the Moon. We start with a New Moon in Malta, enjoy the First Quarter Moon in Tropea, the Full Moon around Sybaris in Calabria, the Third Quarter Moon in Otranto and the next New Moon in Athens. It will be fascinating to watch the Moon in all its phases over the four weeks.


We will also have good visibility of Jupiter and Saturn, which will be at their meridian at 03.26 am and 02.09 am respectively. Both will be fairly close in the Capricornus constellation.

Position of Jupiter and Saturn on 3 August 2021 at 01.00 am


The always bright Venus – our morning and evening star - will be easy to see as it rises at 06.21 am and sets at 17.14 pm. Mars will be a bit more challenging to spot. He rises during the day and sets at 00.18 am. We will have to look out for him just after dinner. Mercury who rises and sets during full daylight will be impossible to see with the naked eye.


From 17th July to 24th August there is also the Perseids meteor shower to watch. It peaks between 9th – 13thAugust, just after our trip. But am sure we will be seeing many meteors if we take the time and switch off the boat lights. Some of you may remember the night in summer 2017 off the coast of Greece when we saw so many meteorites that we lost count. Many saw more than a dozen that night!

The Night Sky on 17 July 2021 over Reggio di Calabria at 23.00 h


Sailing in the dark of the night – except for the moon light of course – will also allow us to enjoy the constellations as they unfold and cross the sky. The site



allows you to construct your own picture of the night sky for any given date, time and location. The picture above is a screenshot. You can order your personalized night sky for any important day in your life. The site has a great amount of historical data. BTW am not getting paid for saying this.


Hope you make your own night sky map for our trip and am looking forward star gazing with you!




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Ina Bolten
Ina Bolten
27 févr. 2021

What a lovely idea to create the night sky of a special occasion. Thank you for sharing!

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