Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Events for the Week 7/26 to 7/29

Events for Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mars shines bright around 4 am local time juts before the Sun starts to rise. It's near Aldebaran in constellation Taurus, glowing about a half-magnitude brighter than the red world itself. Watch out for the occultation tomorrow! "Mars lies directly between the two stars that mark the Bull’s horns: Zeta (ζ) and Beta (β) Tauri. A waning crescent Moon adds to the scene from its perch nearly due north of Aldebaran," Astronomy.com writes us. There is also another planet in view at the time. Mercury will be shining in bright twilight with Regulus three degrees above in the western horizon! What a beautiful site!

Events for Wednesday, July 27, 2011
This morning the occultation of Mars takes place. Posted in the previous article:
After Venus occulted over the Mediterranean last month, it's time for Mars to take the stage. Although 2011 is somewhat of a bad year for occultation viewing, Mars will still be occulted. But don't get your hope up! People here in America won't be able to see it. On July 27, 2011 at 16:50:54 UT over the Pacific and parts of South America. Specifically, this occultation will be viewed from the French Polynesia, Chile, Peru, and Argentina, but won't be anything impressive."The good thing about this occultation is that the Moon is only 16% illuminated. This means minimal lunar interference," AstronomyLive.com encourages. READ MORE
At night: Vega returns to zenith tonight, so viewing the bright star is perfect.

Events for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Asteroid Vesta is coming to opposition which is a key time to observe. August sixth is the date, and here is an excerpt from our new Minor Planets Viewing Page where you can read and see more about all the minor planets in our solar system.
To view these asteroids, Vesta will be up all night (especially around 3 am local time); but both objects will be in best view at opposition. Opposition is appropriately when an object is the highest in the night sky, as viewed from your position on earth. Vesta is in opposition August 6, and Ceres, September the 16th. Here is a good magnitude list to show you the magnitude of the object on a certain date. The object will be the brightest on opposition, as the chart reflects. READ MORE
Comet Garrard also returns to the night sky; in Pegasus.

Events for Friday, July 29, 2011

Tonight, a few special stars are in the spotlight. Famous binary Agol in constellation Perseus reaches minimum brightness tonight at 3:32 am EDT, when it comes to 3.4 magnitude. This is in eclipse. You can start to view this around 10:30 pm on the 28 in North America, and see the eclipse. Although it does orbit around each-other every 2.78 days, it's rare that eclipses occur...think: the moon orbits around the Sun every month, but do eclipse occur every month? No! The eclipse must be on the ecliptic...so Agol must be on the ecliptic as well. 
Example of Agol...a binary
Altair, another bright star of interest shines bright tonight as well. It's a very close star, at about 17 light-years away, and spins so fast that it's elliptical shaped!

Sorry I fail to provide you the Planets' Positions, but come to this page, which has it all for you.

Solar System Calendar:

26 Jul 2011 07:10:41 Aphelion of Mercury, 0.46670 AU from Sun
27 Jul 2011 03:01:38 Max. South Declination of the Moon, 23.3°
27 Jul 2011 12:03:07 Descending Knot Passage of the Moon
27 Jul 2011 16:49:49 Occultation of Mars by the Moon, 0.5°
29 Jul 2011 13:49:11 Opposition of Pallas, 9.3m
Have a great viewing this week!

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