July 2008

Lunar Events

The New moon for July occurs on Wednesday, July 2nd, which means the weekend of July 5-6 will be the best weekend for Dark Sky Viewing.

The Full moon for July occurs on July 18th and is known as the Buck Moon or Thunder Moon.

Celestial Events

Aphelion

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<p class=Earth will reach its aphelion on July 3rd.

The Aphelion is the point in Earth’s elliptical orbit that it is furthest from the Sun.  This is the opposite point to the Perihelion when the Earth is at its closest point to the Sun, which occurs in January.

Mercury

Mercury at its greatest Western Elongation

Mercury is the Morning Star in July, reaching it’s greatest western elongation on July 1st. Mercury is visible for about 3 weeks and will disappear into the glare of the Sun around July 19th.

Mercury starts this July in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, until the 9th of the month when it moves, briefly into the constellation Orion.  The next day, on July 10th, Mercury moves into Gemini. Finally, later in the month, on July 25th, after it has disappeared into the glare of the Sun, Mercury moves into the constellation Cancer, the Crab.

Venus

Venus is the evening star this month.  Venus begins this month in the constellation Gemini, the Twins, until July 10th, when it will move into the constellation Cancer, the Crab. Finally on July 26th, Venus will move into the constellation Leo, the Lion, where it will finish out the month.

July 18, 2008 Venus passes through the Beehive Cluster
On July 18 Venus, will pass through the Beehive Cluster (M44).

Mars

Mars is located in the constellation Leo, the Lion, and is viewable in the evening, all month.

July 1 - Mars and Regulus
On July 1, Mars can be observed less than 0°45’ from the star Regulus.

Mars, Saturn and Moon
On July 6th, look for Mars, Saturn conjunction with the waxing,
crescent moon all clustered with 4° of each other.

Finally on July 10th, Mars and Saturn will pass within 0°40’ of each other.

Jupiter

Jupiter at Opposition

Jupiter is located in the constellation Sagittarius until January 2009.  Since Jupiter reaches opposition on July 9th, Jupiter will be visible all night for the entire month and is in the best position for observing for the year.  Views on Jupiter will be fantastic until October.

Jupiter is currently in retrograde motion. It will reach opposition on July 9th, the same day as the first quarter moon. On July 17 Jupiter will set less than 3°30’ from the waxing, gibbous moon.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Sagitarrius, the Archer, until January 2009 and is viewable all night, all month.

Mars and Saturn
On July 10th, Mars and Saturn will pass within 0°40’ of each other.

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer, until the year 2009. This month Uranus is visible from the middle of the night to morning.

At the beginning of the July, Uranus rises around Midnight and by the end of the month, Uranus rises around 10:00pm.

July 15 - Position Uranus and Neptune
July 15 - The relative position on Uranus and Neptune

Neptune

Neptune is found in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat, until the year 2010. This month Neptune is visible from the late evening to morning.

At the beginning of July, Neptune rises around 10:30am and by the end of July, Neptune rises around 8:30pm.

Pluto

The former planet, Pluto, is found in the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer, until the year 2023. This month Pluto is observable all night.  This puts Pluto in excellent position for observation this month.

July 15 - Pluto
July 15 the relative position of Pluto in July

All star charts made by Imaginova’s Starry Night Pro Software

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