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TOPIC: July 2009


L

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RE: July 2009
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Time to bust out your telescope, or at least a lawn chair and a blanket.
The peaks of several summer meteor showers are just around the corner, and Lake Tahoe provides a seemingly inexhaustible variety of viewing spots to watch cosmic castoffs burn up in the Earth's atmosphere and light up the night sky.

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The night time is the right time - right now - for a spectacular sky party.
All the key factors are synchronising for a big show, where up to 100 shooting stars per hour are visible on many nights. Peak nights can be even better.
Over the next few weeks, three meteors showers will converge, with the best shows expected July 28-30 and Aug. 12-13.

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If you look directly south between 10 p.m. and midnight, you will be looking at the densest part of the Milky Way.
Mighty Scorpius the Scorpion stands on its tail directly above the southern horizon. The heart of the Scorpion is the bright red star Antares, the rival of Mars due to its brightness and its red-orange colour. Antares is a supergiant star near the end of its life.

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The 290 km wide asteroid (3) Juno (mag 9.5) will occult the star TYC 0004-00640-1 (mag 12.3) in the constellation Pisces.
The event will take place at 11:10 UT, 13 July, 2009, and be visible from the western Americas.
The occultation will last  around 28 seconds, with the star dimming by only mag 0.1.

Position(2000): RA 00 01 35.6253,  Dec +03 55 26.937


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Skies ready for triple eclipse
On July 7, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur as the moon rises over Australia and sets in western north and south America in the early pre-dawn hours, said C.B. Devgun, director of Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE).

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Stargazers await celestial extravaganza

For star gazers, eclipse chasers and amateur astronomers in the city, July 22 will mark the start of a series of rare celestial events, which will continue for the next few months. Fans are waiting with bated breath for the show.
During this period, some planets of the solar system will take turns to hog the limelight.
The unique extravaganza will start with the total solar eclipse on July 22. It will start from the sea coast near Surat and pass over India from west to east.

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Venus and Mars in High Contrast
See the spangled Venus and a dim Mars in July before dawn's early light.
Mars, our neighbouring red planet, rises about 3 a.m. in the northeastern sky, followed shortly by a brilliant Venus. Both can be seen high in the east before sunrise in the constellation Taurus, but the differences are striking. Venus, at a negative fourth magnitude, is very bright; Mars is much less so at first magnitude and is even harder to see in light-polluted urban areas. By the end of July, Venus is seen lower in the eastern heavens.

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Summer is now upon us and this will be a good month to enjoy the sky in spite of the short nights. The bright planets are evenly split this month, with the gas giants Saturn and Jupiter visible in the evening sky and our neighbouring terrestrial planets, Venus and Mars, visible in the morning sky.
There will be two more very exciting celestial events taking place this month, but only one of them will be visible for us in New England. The annual Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower will peak during the morning hours of July 28. This shower actually begins around the middle of July and blends right into the famous Perseid Meteor Shower, which starts at the end of July and peaks on August 12.

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