Night Sky July 2017
How great was it to finally have summer weather in June? For the UK at least, we had a heat wave! It was rather appropriate that the hottest day of the year so far fell on the day of the summer solstice, 21st June. However, with more daylight, we are at that time of year when you are going to have to be one of those astronomy enthusiasts to really see any constellations in the night sky. After midnight is now the time for viewing. I’m going to have to set myself a challenge of sitting in my garden late to do this.
The season of lectures with my astronomy society has ended till September so I am going to have to find myself other means of which to enjoy this hobby. How about volunteering at the Greenwich observatory? Yep, this is exactly what I will be doing. Alongside over members, I will be helping with Public Solar Viewing sessions at the observatory. These are free events for the public to use the special telescopes for viewing the sun. I am by no means an expert but I have enthusiasm and a willingness to learn so I will be assisting on three days throughout the summer starting 1st July, weather permitting. So if you want something cool to do on a Saturday afternoon head to the observatory and you may just spot me too.
The constellation of Auriga is very close to the northern horizon but you may be fortunate enough to still see its brightest star, Capella. Towards the east, Andromeda should now be in full view and so is the constellation of Pegasus. The meteors of Perseids start to be visible from July 13th to August 26th. It reaches its peak on August 12th-13th where you could see up to 100 per hour.
Towards the horizon is the constellation of Sagittarius, with its unique asterism of a teapot. If there are clear skies in July you should be able to see the Great Rift (dust clouds), which is visible from Cygnus to Sagittarius. In between the two constellations of Serpens is the big constellation of Ophiuchus. The summer months also make prime viewing for the Summer Triangle. This consists of Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila.
- 1st 00:51 Moon at First Quarter
- 6th 04:28 Moon at apogee
- 9th 04:07 Full Moon
- 16th 19:26 Moon at Last Quarter
- 21st 17:12 Moon at perigee
- 23rd 09:46 New Moon
- 31st 15:23 Moon at First Quarter
This Months Focus – the Stars of the Summer Triangle
- The first star to ever be photographed (1850)
- The current pole star Polaris will be replaced with Vega in 10,000 years
- Vega is 25 light years from Earth
- It rotates every 12 and a half hours compared to 28 days for our sun
- Deneb is 2,500 light years from Earth
- It is a blue-white supergiant star, nearly 200 times larger in diameter than the sun
- It is one of the most distant stars the human eye can see. It incredible brightness makes this possible.
- It is 16.7 light years from Earth
- Altair is the 12th brightest star in the night sky
- It takes between 9-10 hours to rotate
Did you enjoy the weather in June?
No need for postcards, feel free to leave a comment…