2017-07-01 / Stargazing

Dominant Venus will rule at mid-month in July

For July 2017, the moon will be first quarter on July 1. The waxing gibbous moon passes three degrees north of Saturn in the southeastern evening sky on July 6. The full moon, the Thunder Moon, is on July 9. The moon is last quarter on July 16. The waning crescent moon passes three degrees south of Venus in the dawn on July 20. The new moon is July 23 an,d of course, the very next new moon is the solar eclipse of Aug. 21. The waxing crescent moon is just below Mercury on July 24, and then passes three degrees north of Jupiter on July 28. The moon ends the month as it started, with a first quarter phase on July 30.

For a detailed map of northern hemisphere skies, about June 30, visit the www.skymaps.com website and download the map for July 2016. It will have a more extensive calendar and a list of the best objects for viewing with the naked eye, binoculars and scopes on the back of the map. NASA has video exploring the July 2017 sky available from the Hubble Space Telescope website at http://hubblesite.org/explore_ astronomy/tonights_ sky/.


Saturn is well placed for evening observation in July, just above the tail of Scorpius in the southeast. It is tilted 27 degrees toward us and the sun, and the rings and moons are the most beautiful sight in the telescopic sky. Our feature photo of it is by Ed Magowan of the EAAA. It shows the rings most open and tilted sunward currently. Be sure to come out to our gazes on the beach and see it at its best. Saturn is well placed for evening observation in July, just above the tail of Scorpius in the southeast. It is tilted 27 degrees toward us and the sun, and the rings and moons are the most beautiful sight in the telescopic sky. Our feature photo of it is by Ed Magowan of the EAAA. It shows the rings most open and tilted sunward currently. Be sure to come out to our gazes on the beach and see it at its best. Mercury comes into the evening sky as July begins, but will stay low in the west. The most photogenic shot will be when the crescent moon, Mercury and the bright star Regulus (which will be in the sun’s corona on Aug. 21) are grouped together on the evenings of July 24-25. Look, with a clear western horizon, about 30-40 minutes after sunset to catch this beautiful trio.

Venus dominates the dawn sky, passing among the stars of Taurus at midmonth. On July 14, she passes three degrees north of the bright orange star, Aldeberan. Mars lies hidden in the sun’s glare for now, but a year from now will be at opposition. It will be the best time to see it since August 2003.

Jupiter is still well up in the west at sunset, about five degrees east of Spica in Virgo. It will be lost in the sun’s glare by September, so enjoy its moons, belts and zones and Great Red Spot while you can.

Overhead, the Big Dipper rides high at sunset, but falls lower in the northwest each evening. Good scouts know to take its leading pointers north to Polaris, the famed Pole Star.

For us, it sits 30 degrees (our latitude) high in the north, while the rotating earth beneath makes all the other celestial bodies spin around it from east to west.

If you drop south from the bowl of the Big Dipper, Leo the Lion is in the southwest. Note the Egyptian Sphinx is based on the shape of this lion in the sky.

Taking the arc in the Dipper’s handle, we “arc” southeast to bright orange Arcturus, the brightest star of spring. Cooler than our yellow sun, and much poorer in heavy elements, its strange motions is believed by some to be an invading star from another smaller galaxy, now colliding with the Milky Way in Sagittarius in the summer sky.

Moving almost perpendicular to the plane of our Milky Way, Arcturus was the first star in the sky where its proper motion across the historic sky was noted by Edmund Halley.

Download the

July Evening Sky Map at skymaps.com for a list of the best objects to view with the naked eye, binoculars & scopes

PUBLIC GAZES

by the Escambia Amateur Astronomers begin at sunset and run ‘til 10 pm

Battery Worth on Ft. Pickens Friday V July 21st

*the dark sky sessions will allow observers to enjoy the beauty of the night sky, the Milky Way, and many more galaxies beyond our own

Pensacola Beach Gulfside Pavillion Friday V June 30th & Saturday V July 1st

*these sidewalk astronomy sessions will feature observing the first quarter moon overhead, Be sure to bring you smartphone for great shots of the moon, Jupiter and Saturn.

Big Lagoon State Park Saturday V July 15th

(near the observation tower) * celebrate the dark skies

Bring along your digital cameras to capture the craters on the moon, Mars, the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, galaxies, clusters, and other cool stuff off our live video feed from the large telescopes we use there. For more information on the Escambia Amateur Astronomers visit www.eaaa.net or call Dr. Wayne Wooten in the Physical Sciences Department of Pensacola State College at

(850) 484-1152, or e-mail him at wwooten@pensacolastate.edu.

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