This morning as I let Jasper the dog out to do his early morning constitutional I couldn't help but notice how bright my backyard was. As I was watching the dog secure a place to poop I realized that I was casting a shadow. As the normally very dark time of 12:30 AM was pretty well lit.

That shimmering silver light cast down over my pooping pooch was a reflection of the waxing moon in the sky above. This wasn't even a full moon and I could sit outside and read the paper if anybody still read newspapers, the light was so bright.  Still, this isn't as bright as the night is going to be later this week.

Thursday, June 28th the moon will officially enter its "full" phase. You'll want to be up in the wee small hours of Thursday to catch the celestial show provided by the Strawberry Moon. The moon earned this moniker because the first full moon following the Summer Solstice is the beginning of the strawberry picking season on the east coast and upper midwest.

One other heavenly body you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for this week is the planet Saturn. The ringed planet should rise in the southeastern sky about sunset. It will appear as one of the brightest objects in the sky. The other bright object you'll likely notice first is the planet Venus. It's always the brightest object in the sky besides the moon.

Good luck with your stargazing and don't forget your bug spray. The mosquitoes don't appreciate the beauty of the moon but they certainly will appreciate you stepping out to provide them with a midnight snack.