Latest edition of our monthly posts, listing upcoming Astronomy events for July. Should all go to schedule the last ever Shuttle launch will happen on 8th July, so keep an eye on Sky-Watching for details and updates!
Friday 1st July – Start the month with a new Moon! Darker skies provide great conditions for astrophotography. There is also a partial solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere. Noctilucent clouds are still sometimes visible in the northwest (after sunset) and northeast (just before sunrise) at the beginning of July. Try catching them on camera using a 5 to 10 second exposure, trying different ISO’s to find which work best for you! Also, Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede will transit the planet’s South Pole region early this morning (best viewed through a telescope around 03:50 (BST))
Sunday 3rd July – The crescent Moon can be located close to the western horizon soon after sunset, with Mercury located to the right of it just about visible in clear skies. Photographing the Moon when it’s waxing or waning can reveal the features behind the shadow, a phenomenon known as Earthshine. This is where light reflecting back off the Earth is strong enough to illuminate the night side of the Moon
Earthshine on a crescent Moon (7th March 2011) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Monday 4th July – The Earth will be at aphelion today, the farthest point from the Sun on its elliptical orbit. Remember if planning to observe the Sun only use certified filters or Solar Telescopes
Thursday 7th July - Moon at Perigee, the closest its orbit comes to Earth (369,570 km)
Friday 8th July – Although generally fairly weak, the Capricornids Meteor Shower reaches the first of three predicted peaks tonight. The ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) is around 5 meteors per hour (peaking up to 9), with similar rates expected on both 15th and 26th July. NASA’s last ever shuttle mission (STS-135 Atlantis) is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center at 11:26 EDT (15:26 GMT/ 16:26 BST)
NASA STS-135 astronauts Commander Chris Ferguson (center right), Pilot Doug Hurley (center left), and Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus (mission specialists) - Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz
Tuesday 12th July – Today the planet Neptune completes its first full orbit of the Sun since its discovery in 1846. That’s some year!
Friday 15th July – Full Moon. Tonight is another good night to witness the “Moon-Illusion” as it lies quite low in the sky. It’s also the only night this month the Moon will be in visible in the sky all night, from sunset to sunrise.
Thursday 21st July – The weak Alpha Cygnids Meteor Shower peaks tonight, with ZHR predicted at 5 per hour. Moon at Apogee (404,355 km)
A Perseid Meteor captured in 1993 - Credit: S. Kohle & B. Koch, Bonn University (Image links to NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day from 2002)
Saturday 23rd July – The Perseid Meteor shower begins today and should run until 20th August. While the shower peak isn’t until 13th August, this will coincide with a full Moon meaning many of the meteors will be washed out in the glare
Sunday 24th July – Jupiter is easily spotted this evening (best seen after midnight), just to the right of the waning crescent Moon. It should appear very bright and be difficult to miss, despite the light coming from the Moon nearby
Our image of Jupiter captured with a colour CCD camera - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Monday 25th July – The Moon will be close to the Pleiades Open Cluster in the morning sky. Best viewed around 03:00 BST the glow from the Moon shouldn’t be too strong allowing you to locate the Pleiades with ease
Friday 29th July – The fairly active Delta Aquariids Meteor shower will reach its first peak this evening, with a ZHR of up to 20 meteors per hour
Saturday 30th July - Tonight will see the second new Moon of July, so if your skies are sufficiently dark enough you should easily spot the Milky Way, crossing the sky in an arc from north to south (and up high to the east) from nightfall
Should the weather allow we’re targeting the Milky Way for imaging this month (with two new Moons helping keep the skies dark), with any luck we’ll bring you some new photos so wish for clear skies!
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!
Astronomy Events – June 2011
Astronomy Events – May 2011
Astronomy Events – April 2011
Astronomy Events – March 2011
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