Saturday, July 9, 2011

Events for the Week 7/9 to 7/16

How quickly this week slipped past us! Did you get to view Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars last week? How about Venus, which has now slipped away from us until autumn?! But, we'll be celebrating this week, with Neptune. Read on!

Events for Saturday, July 9, 2011

In the morning: So, as long as the moon isn't passing until 2014, you can view Mars as dawn comes, around 3-4 am EDT. Mars will sit east-northeast at magnitude 1.4; six-degrees to its right, shines Aldebaran, at around magnitude one. After the conjunction between these two objects last week, Mars and Aldebaran will gradually glide away from each-other, ending the best chance to find Mars in the dawn sky.  

When the sun sets, the moon will pass through the celestial gateway, NOT! EarthSky writes:
Every July, you’ll find the moon at or near the same phase when it swings between Spica, and the stars Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali in the constellation Libra. These two Libra stars have been seen as a “gateway” on the sky’s dome by stargazers in times past. That’s because at certain times in the moon’s 18.6-year cycle the moon passes in between Libra’s two brightest stars. For the next few years, though, the moon rides too far south to travel the passage between Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali. The moon won’t start to pass through the celestial “gateway” until 2014!

Events for Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tonight, Saturn will be at a beautiful position, with beautiful Spica to its left. You can't miss it. At magnitude 0.9, Saturn is much brighter than Virgo's brightest star (which is Spica), and magnitude 3 Gamma Virginis is above Saturn; Virgo's second brightest star. This is the last week Gamma Virginis and Saturn are in conjunction, though. Saturn will slip past this far-away star and won't return into a great deal of years later.If you would like to view Saturn's moons tonight - try it! Come here for the latest information

If you've had enough for planets and just want to view simple asterisms, constellations, and other prominent figures, tonight is a great night for that. Just hope the weather's good!

You'll see Arcturus in the west-southwest sky, very high around 10 pm, after it gets dark. Vega will be even higher to the east around midnight. As we move on through the summer-arch, the dim semi-circle of Corona Borealis will shine (or its brightest star will) at magnitude 2.21 now. The Keystone of Hercules is two ways down from that. You can also see the constellation of Ophiuchus, the real "overlooked" zodiac constellation, as EarthSky describes it, and Serpens Cauda (tail of the serpent) and Serpens Caput (head).

Events for Monday, July 11, 2011

Tonight the moon will be in gibbous form, with golden-red Antares below, at about 2 and one half degrees. 

Caption by Sky&Telescope: The Moon crosses Scorpius and Sagittarius as it waxes to full. In these scenes, the Moon is always placed for an observer in the middle of North America. European sky-watchers: move each Moon symbol a quarter of the way toward the one for the previous date. The Moon is shown three times its actual apparent diameter.
Events for Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Celebrate! Today, Neptune will complete one full orbit around the sun, since it was discovered. (Please see our article on this - if this is before 7/11, it will be published the 11th.) "Never again will a major planet of the solar system have failed to complete a full orbit since it was found," writes Sky&Telescope. To view the planet (it's dim!) find magnitude 5 38-Aquarii, the "brightest star on the line that joins 4th-magnitude Theta (θ) and Iota (ι) Aquarii. This week, Neptune passes 0.3° (about half the Full Moon’s width) south of 38 Aqr," writes. 

Events for Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Teapot asterism will shine in Sagittarius beneath the moon tonight. You'll also be able to start viewing a meteor shower again...

Events for Thursday, July 14, 2011

The moons shines full tonight, at exactly 2:40 am EDT (Friday morning). But if we scroll back to the twilight hours (around 8-10 pm depending on your location), Mercury will be in view at magnitude 0.1, very bright. "This world will remain on display in evening twilight for the next 2 weeks as it edges farther from the Sun," Sky&Telescope announces. As well, during the darkest part of the night, the eclipsing binary star Beta Lyrae (comprised of Beta and Gamma) is starting to brighten for us here in America. It sits below Vega, like the picture shows us.

Events for Friday, July 15, 2011

Double Beta and Alpha Capricorni shine good tonight; you can usually 'split' Alpha Capricorni, but can you with the moon so bright? Look for them near the huge orb. [Alpha Capricorni  is a double star, Beta is just in the vicinity.]

Alpha Capricorni is in the center, you can see the doubles!
Events for Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today's the day! Dawn is supposed to reach asteroid 4 last! More information to follow this epic day, for no NASA probe has ever gone to this asteroid before. 

Solar System Calendar

10 Jul 2011 07:49:38 Uranus stationary: getting retrograde
12 Jul 2011 16:54:43 Min. North Declination of the Moon, -23.3°
13 Jul 2011 01:03:51 Max. South Latitude of Pallas, 38.0°
13 Jul 2011 02:26:49 Ascending Knot Passage of the Moon
15 Jul 2011 06:39:39 Full Moon
15 Jul 2011 22:42:15 Descending Knot Passage of Mercury
16 Jul 2011 18:43:18 Conjunction of Pallas with the Moon, 34.2°
17 Jul 2011 03:28:53 Conjunction of Vesta with the Moon, 9.1°
(You can see, NASA wished that Dawn get to Vesta when it was in conjunction...) 

Planet Positions

Mercury: (E)* magnitude 0.0; visible in west-northwest sky at twilight.
Venus: (NV) Venus has slipped into the Sun's glare and won't return until autumn.
Mars: (D) magnitude +1.4; visible in low east-northeast sky in Taurus; beneath Jupiter
Jupiter: (D) magnitude -2.3; visible in south Aries, rises at 1am, sets when the sun rises
Saturn: (N) magnitude +0.9; visible in southwest sky in Virgo
Uranus: (D) magnitude +5.9; visible in western Pisces
Neptune: (D) magnitude +7.9; visible in western Aquarius
Pluto: (N) magnitude 14.0; visible in southern Sagittarius, highest in south around 12 am. Try to find a finder chart in last weeks astronomical events.

*(E) Evening, (N) Night, (D) Dawn, (NV) Not Visible. 

Have a great viewing this week; celebrate Neptune's birthday, and Dawn and Vesta!

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