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Post Info TOPIC: July 2007


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RE: July 2007
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The night skies of this month provide ample opportunities for sky-gazers to observe and wonder the arcane beauty and timeless elegance of planets, stars, galaxies, nebulae along with other marvels of the heavens. As it darkens, captivating zodiacal constellations of Cancer (crab), Leo (lion), Virgo (maiden), Libra (scales), Scorpius (scorpion) and Sagittarius (archer) are seen unfurling across the sky for western to eastern horizon. Later in the night, Capricornus (sea goat), Aquarius (water bearer), Pisces (fishes), Aries (ram) and Taurus (bull) are ascending the eastern sky slowly till dawn. Various constellations sketched by bewildering stars embellish the entire sky throughout the night.

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Planets Venus and Saturn will be seen close to each other Saturday in a rare phenomenon known as conjunction.
The planets will be about 0.65 degrees apart from each other and close enough to be seen together through a moderate telescope.

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The M3 globular cluster
This splendid globular cluster can be found north of the star Arcturus. It is called M3, and is one of the 150 or so globular star clusters that roam the halo of our Milky Way galaxy.
At a distance of 30,000 light-years and with a diameter of 180 light-years, it contains more than 100,000 stars. It also has many background galaxies. One way of finding some of them it to print out a picture of M3, and use a magnifying class to find the galaxies hundreds of millions of light-years behind the cluster.
They can be found in the outskirts of the cluster, and can be distinguished as faint smudges rather than sharp objects like stars. I could find only three, but one astronomer found no less than 116!
In the opposite of the sky to the Summer Triangle (consisting of Deneb, Vega and Altair) lies the Spring Triangle, another almost equilateral triangle of almost the same shape, consisting of the stars Arcturus, Denebola and Spica.

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Saturns satellite positions

SatSatJuly07a

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Jupiter satellite positions


jupSatJuly07ajupSatJuly07b

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Mercury: at magnitude 0.5, starts the month in the constellation Gemini. The planet is best seen from 4.0h - 4.0h UT. On the 10th July the planet is at greatest eastern elongation (23.4 degrees), and at aphelion on the 22nd. The planet is stationary on 10th July. The planet is located 9 degrees away from the Moon on the 13th..
(On July 14th, RA= 6h13m02s Dec=+1933.9' (J2000) Distance=0.726AU Elongation= 19 Phase=20% Diameter=9.3")

Venus: is an evening morning star of magnitude -4.4, The planet is in constellation Leo at the start of the month. Venus is stationary: Getting Retrograde on the 25 July 14.3h UT. It is best seen from 8.8h -23.6h UT. On July 1st, Venus is close to Saturn: only 39.8' separated at 10:35, and on Conjunction at 40.5' separated at 15:38 UT. Venus passes the star Regulus (1.7degrees) on the 13th July.
(On July 1st, RA= 9h38m36s Dec=+1443.7' (J2000) Distance=0.531AU Elongation= 43 Phase=35% Diameter=31.4")

spacer.gif Moon Phase Now!

Moon Phase Now!

Earth: is at aphelion on July 7 at 12 noon.
The Earth is at its furthest point from the Sun, on its year-long slightly elliptical orbit around the Sun. The distance at that time is 152,097,040 km, which is about 5 million km further away than its closest point in early January.
The Moon is 1 degrees from the Pleiades open star cluster on the 10th. The Moon is at Perigee on the 9th July 22:34.1 UT, and at Apogee on the 22nd, at 09:42.7 UT.

Mars: at magnitude 0.7 starts the month in the constellation Aries. On the 4th July the planets summer begins in the southern hemisphere. On the 9th Mars is 6 degrees from the Moon. The planet is best seen from 1.6h - 3.8h UT.
(On July 1st, RA= 2h10m14s Dec=+1135.6' (J2000) Distance=1.479AU Elongation= 64 Phase=87% Diameter=6.3")

Jupiter: is still bright at magnitude -2.6 in the constellation Ophiuchus and close to the bright star, Antares. The planet is best seen from 21.7h - 3.0h UT.
(On July 1st, RA=16h41m15s Dec=-2134.1' (J2000) Distance=4.390AU Elongation=152)

The planet Jupiter is a source of huge radio storms. Click the link to hear the live audio stream.
The radio outbursts are in the frequency range 18 - 32 MHz. Sensitive receivers translate Jupiter's radio waves to audio sounds.
Click! For alternative listening site.
click here! for Great RedSpot Transit times.
Click! For Satellite predictions.

Saturn: at magnitude 0.6 sits in the constellation Leo. Saturn reached opposition on February 10th.
Worth a look with binoculars.
The planet is best seen from 22.6h -23.6h UT. On the 16th the moon occults the planet (seen from Hawaii).
(On July 1st, RA= 9h40m22s Dec=+1515.8' (J2000) Distance=9.941AU Elongation= 43)

click here! for interactive Saturn moon calculator .

Uranus is in the constellation Aquarius, near Lambda Aquarii, magnitude 3.7. Uranus at magnitude 5.8, has a bluish-green hue and appears 3.7 arcseconds wide. On the 5th Uranus is 1.9 degrees from the Moon. The planet is best seen from 0.9h - 2.0h UT.
This month the planet is located 1.5 degrees away from the 4th magnitude star Phi Aquarii.
(On July 1st, RA=23h19m10s Dec= -514.9' (J2000) Distance=19.719AU Elongation=110)

Neptune: in the constellation Capricornus near to the 4.3 mag star Iota Capricornii. A telescope will usually show a tiny bluish dot, only 2.5 arcseconds wide (mag 8.0). Neptune is best seen from 3.7h - 6.0h UT. On the 31st Neptune is 1.3 degrees from the Moon.
(On June 1st,
RA=21h37m29s Dec=-1426.9' (J2000) Distance=29.713AU Elongation=108)

Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius (mag 13.9) is not visible in the southern sky this month. Normally, a finder chart is necessary to help in identifying the 0.1" diameter dwarf planet. On the 19th June the planet is at opposition at 7:00 UT. The dwarf planet is best seen from 23.6h - 2.6h UT.
(On May 1st, RA=17h54m16s Dec=-1623.5' (J2000) Distance=30.593AU Elongation=132)

The Sun enters the zodiac sign Leo on the 23rd July, 6:00 UT.



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planetPositjuly07
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julyplanet07DIA

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The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks on July 27.

Sagittarius and the Galactic Centre.
For northern observers, the Teapot of Sagittarius should be dashing across the southern horizon. Observe the lower western corner, which lies immediately above the stinger of Scorpio, the scorpion. You are now looking straight toward the heart of the galaxy, the galactic centre. The actual centre is not visible to us due to the unimaginable amount of dust and stars blocking the way, but we do know something about it thanks to both radio and infrared radiation that is not so easily blocked.

The Summer Triangle
Vega, Deneb, and Altair -- holds the central position, high in the south. The scorpion sits low to the south and slightly west. Directly to the arachnid's east is Sagittarius, the Archer, and between the two lies the direction toward the Milky Way galaxy's centre. The ribbon of soft light that delineates our galaxy flows up from the south, through the Triangle, and then cascades toward the northern horizon.

Trifid and Lagoon Nebulas
By mid-month the distinctive Teapot of Sagittarius should be hovering above the southern horizon.
Looking towards the right of the lid of the teapot and a little to the right is the delicate Trifid Nebula, R 20;M20. A nebula is simply a cloud of interstellar dust and gas, the raw materials that stars are made of. If there are already stars embedded in the cloud it will glow with an eerie ghostlike appearance forming such vistas as the Great Orion Nebula, or this one, the Trifid. Sporting two patches of nebulosity, one red the other blue, this is one of the finest objects in the sky and very easy to find in binoculars. Just slightly below M20, is the rosy red Lagoon Nebula, which goes under the profoundly less romantic name of M8. This is one of the best diffuse nebulas for naked eye observers, surrounding the small young star cluster NGC6530. The nebula is known for having a number small dark globules of material believed to be stars at the very beginning of formation, sometimes called protostars. Overall M8 is over 100 light years across, with its central regions a more modest 50 light years in diameter. It is also one of the largest in the sky, challenging the full moon for size.

M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy
Summer is the time for the galaxies.
As the earth swings around in its orbit the night skies are aimed away from the centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. No longer does the body of the Milky Way block the skies, now we can look out into the depths of space. One of the most spectacular is M51, better known as the Whirlpool Galaxy located right below the handle of the Big Dipper. This was the first ever to be seen as in the classic spiral form, in the mid-19th century. While visible in the smallest instruments, its twisted nature will not show in anything less than an eight-inch telescope. With a luminosity of 10 billion suns and a diameter of 100,000 light years, M51 is roughly equivalent to M31, the great Andromeda galaxy and in turn, our own home. The Whirlpool is about 35 million light years away and glows at a genial eighth magnitude. In the sky it is seen face on and is about 1/3rd of the visual width of the Moon. It should be visible as a dim fuzzy patch in a pair of binoculars in a very dark sky. If you are lucky in that regard, step outside and see what you can see tonight.

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