The year marches ever onward and already July is upon us! Where is the year going!? Noted below we’ve listed some interesting upcoming Astronomy Events for July, with a little something for everyone so keep watching the skies!
Sunday 1st July – Tonight the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 362,360 km and Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation, so may be visible low down in the western sky soon after sunset
Tuesday 3rd July - Tonight’s Full Moon is also known as the Hay Moon, Buck Moon and Thunder Moon
Thursday 5th July – The Earth is at Aphelion today, the point in its orbit where it is farthest from the Sun
Sunday 8th July – Double star Albireo is a great sight through good binoculars or a telescope, and you can really see the difference in colour between the two stars
Caught within the imagined lines of the “Summer Triangle” (an asterism that sits across the band of the Milky Way made by linking the stars Deneb, Vega and Altair), look high up towards east-southeast before midnight and see if you can spot it!
Wednesday 11th July – Last Quarter Moon
Friday 13th July - The Moon is at Apogee, 404,780 km
Sunday 15th July - Early risers may catch a sight of the Lunar occultation of Jupiter as it skims behind the top of the waning crescent Moon as it rises (see below). Beginning at 01:00 UTC (02:00 BST) it will continue until around 02:30 UTC (03:30 BST)
Observers from the south east UK will see the whole occultation, but the further north and west you are the lower the Moon will appear relative to Jupiter, so the planet will either graze, or completely miss the top of the Moon
Almost directly below will be the bright star Aldebaran (shining brightly) and the Pleiades cluster leads them all across the sky (see below). Should be a great sight if you’ve got some binoculars or a telescope, and a potential target for some great images!
Thursday 19th July – The New Moon today rises just before (and sets just after) the Sun, so a good time to observe some of the lovely deep sky objects on offer, like globular cluster M15 (in Pegasus) or the Dumbbell Nebula which can be found just below Albireo (within the Summer Triangle)
Saturday 21st July - The Pleiades, Jupiter and Venus all form a line following each other across the sky early this morning. Look towards the east at 02:30 UTC (03:30 BST) as Jupiter will also be close to the Hyades open cluster
Monday 23rd July – With the Sun still so high in the daytime sky I’m hoping July will provide some nice clear days, so I can start my project of imaging the Sun daily to catch sunspot activity
With a solar filter attached to a 300mm lens I’ve already captured some clear sunspots, so I’m eager to start cataloguing their apparent movement across the face of the Sun over consecutive days. I’m praying for some decent weather!
Thursday 26th July – First Quarter Moon
Saturday 28th July - The planet Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction
Sunday 29th July – Moon is at Perigee (367,315 km)
Planets visible this month:
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