Night Sky : July 2021

1st: Moon at last quarter (figure 1). Visible in dawn sky, approximately 01:22(BST), 3 hours, 38 minutes before the Sun, rising above the South, East before fading from view as dawn breaks, approximately 04:32. It will appear half illuminated. The Moon will be 392496 km from Earth.

Figure 1.

17th: Moon at first quarter (figure 2). Becoming visible, 21:55 (BST), 22° aboveSouth, Western horizon, as dusk fades. It will then drop towards the horizon, setting 3 hours, 16 minutes after the Sun. The Moon will be 367847 km from Earth

Figure 2.

23rd/24th: Full Moon (Buck Moon, figure 3). Visible most of the night, rising atapproximately dusk and setting close to dawn. Full Moon for July is called Buck Moon, because new antlers emerge from bucks' foreheads about this time of year. On 23rd the Moon will be 100% full between 20:35 and 04:06.

On 24th it will be 99% full between 21:28 and 05:23. On the 23rd it will be approximately 368239 km from Earth, on 24th it will be approximately 372465 km from Earth. Visible in constellation Capricornus (figure 4).

Figure 3.

Figure 4.

24th: Conjunction of Moon and Saturn (figure 5). Observable approximately

22:46, when appearing above South, Eastern horizon. Reaching highest point in the sky at 02:02, above Southern horizon. Lost to dawn approximately 05:03, above South, West horizon. Moon will be approximately 372199 km from Earth and Saturn will be approximately 1338 million km from Earth. Located in constellation Capricornus (figure 4).

Figure 5.

26th: Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter (figure 6). Observable approximately

23:15, when above South, Eastern horizon. Reaching highest point at 03:12, above Southern horizon. Lost to dawn approximately 05:06, above South, Western horizon. Moon will be approximately 382663 km from Earth and Jupiter will be approximately 613 million km distant. Located in constellation Aquarius (figure 7).

Figure 6.

Figure 7.

28th: Piscis Austrinid meteor shower (figure 8). Active from 15thJuly to 10thAugust, producing peak meteors approximately 28th July. Visible from approximately 00:38 each night, with radiant point rising above Eastern horizon. Remaining active until dawn. Located in constellation Piscis Austrinus (figure 9). It may be possible to see 5 meteors per hour, with speeds of approximately 35 km per second.

Figure 8.

Figure 9.

30th: Southern Delta (δ) Aquariid meteor shower (figure 10). Active between12th July and 23rd August, producing peak meteors approximately 30th July. Visible from 22:46 each night, until dawn. Parent body is comet 96P/Machholz. Possibility of seeing 15 meteors per hour, each travelling at 41 km per second.

Figure 10.

30th: α (Alpha) Capricornid meteor shower (figure 11), active from 3rdJuly to15th August, with peak approximately 30th July. Appearing in constellation Capricornus (figure 12). It is expected to reach peak activity approximately 07:00 BST on 30th July, therefore, the best displays might be seen before dawn on 30th July. The parent body responsible for creating the α-Capricornid shower has been identified as comet 169P/NEAT. There will be approximately 5 meteors per hour. Meteors will have a speed of approximately 23 km/second.

Figure 11.

Figure 12.

WARNING: Never attempt to view through binoculars, telescope or any optical aid an object near to the Sun. Also, never attempt to view the Sun, aided or unaided, doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness. Always use astronomical approved viewing equipment.

The Stellarium software will assist greatly in locating objects in the sky.

Mark R Smith FRAS FRi


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