Astronomy Events – July 2014

on

by yaska77

Summertime! Long days, short warm evenings, is there a better season to enjoy the night? This is the time of year to have friends round for a barbecue during the day, then fire up the chimenea for a little warmth and light and stay outside long into the night, under a blanket of twinkling stars. Perfect!

But what is there for you to see? There’s always something worth craning your necks for in our ever changing night sky, and whether you’re just an occasional Moon watcher or a more avid amateur astronomer, we’ve listed below a little something for everyone in our monthly astronomy guide for July.

Keep watching the skies!

Tuesday 1st July – Now is probably the best time of year to watch out for noctilucent clouds, which sometimes appear low down in the northwest (after sunset) and northeast (just before sunrise)

Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén
Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén

These clouds are in the upper atmosphere and are usually too faint to see, becoming visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow

Friday 4th July – Minor planet Pluto is at opposition in the constellation Sagittarius, and the Earth is also at Aphelion, the furthest point out in it’s orbit from the Sun (at a distance of 152 million kilometres or 94.5 million miles)

1. Planet at aphelion 2. Planet at perihelion 3. Sun
1. Planet at aphelion 2. Planet at perihelion 3. Sun – Source – Pearson Scott Foresman (Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday 5th July – The Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase today, and pays a close visit to Mars and bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. Look low down to the West after nightfall

Shown above at 21:30 UTC (22:30 BST) the first quarter Moon pays a close visit to Mars and Spica this evening. Looks low to the West after nightfall (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown above at 21:30 UTC (22:30 BST) the first quarter Moon pays a close visit to Mars and Spica this evening. Look low to the West after nightfall (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 7th July – This evening the waxing gibbous Moon lies just below beautiful ring-world Saturn. See if you can spot them together low down towards the West after it’s got dark

Shown above at 22:30 UTC (23:30 BST) on 7th July, see if you can spot the Moon and ringed planet Saturn low towards the West (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown above at 22:30 UTC (23:30 BST) on 7th July, see if you can spot the Moon and ringed planet Saturn low towards the West (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 12th July – The Full Moon in the sky today is also sometimes known as the Summer Moon, Crane Moon or Rose Moon

And inner planet Mercury is at greatest western elongation, but the long morning twilight in the approach to sunrise means it is not easily seen from more northern latitudes

Sunday 13th July – The near Full Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 358,260 km (222,612 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Wednesday 16th July – To help identify the summer constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided constellation guides for southern and northern skies in July, shown as seen at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th July

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th July, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th July, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in July (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in July (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 19th July – This morning our Moon is seen at Last Quarter phase

Monday 21st July – Strange asterism “the coathanger” can be spotted high up due South around midnight this evening. Clearly visible through binoculars or a small telescope, Brocchi’s Cluster is a beautiful sight, and is easily located midway between the right edges of constellations Vulpecula and Sagitta

Brocchi's Cluster (otherwise known as the Coat-Hanger for obvious reasons!) can be found high up to the South around midnight this evening (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Brocchi’s Cluster (otherwise known as “the Coathanger” for obvious reasons!) can be found high up to the South around midnight this evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

We were lucky enough to catch a Perseid meteor flashing near to Brocchi’s Cluster in August 2012.  The easiest way to find it with binoculars is to locate bright star Vega (at the top of the constellation Lyra) and slowly move them diagonally down and to the left

A Perseid meteor flashes past Brocchi's Cluster in August 2012 (the upside down coat hanger!) early on 11th August 2012 (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
A Perseid meteor flashes past Brocchi’s Cluster (the upside down coat hanger!) early on 11th August 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

This cluster sits well within the band of the Milky Way, which you should also be able to see crossing the night sky (if your skies are dark enough!) and with the Moon almost out of the way now is a good time to have a look for it!

Thursday 24th July – One for the early risers today, a sliver of crescent Moon sits just to the right of bright planet Venus before sunrise this morning. If your eastern horizon is flat enough you may get a glimpse of Mercury into the bargain! If anyone gets any photographs of this close gathering please tweet them to us!

A thin crescent Moon sits close by to Venus and Mercury early this morning (shown at 03:00 UTC / 04:00 BST) if your horizon is flat enough (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
A thin crescent Moon sits close by to Venus and Mercury early this morning (shown at 03:00 UTC / 04:00 BST) if your eastern horizon is flat enough (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

And gas giant Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun today, so will be unobservable until the middle of August when it reappears in the sky as an early morning object

Saturday 26th July – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Monday 28th July – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 406,570 km (252,631 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

As usual, if you take any photos throughout July you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – June 2014
Astronomy Events – May 2014
Astronomy Events – April 2014

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. that’s so wonderful!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s