Summer is for stargazing

The Trifid Nebula in infrared as seen by the S...

The Trifid Nebula in infrared as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer is prime time for astronomy. Temperatures are perfect for stargazing. Now is the time to get out there and enjoy the wonders of the universe.

From a dark sky around 11 p.m.mid month you can see the white band of our galaxy, the Milky Way, rippling overhead from the southern to the northern horizon.

If you look at the southern horizon, you will see the constellation Sagittarius and a group of stars that form a distinctive teapot.

Whiffing off its spout are the celestial objects of the Milky Way. With a pair of binoculars, you can see the Trifid Nebula, which is a cloud of interstellar dust and gas.

Billions of stars make up the hub of the Milky Way. A black hole four billion times more massive than our sun exists at its centre.

To the right of the Teapot is the constellation Scorpius, the scorpion with bright star Antares.

Overhead in the night sky you can see the summer triangle. It’s made of bright stars Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, Vega in Lyra and Altair inAquila.

Here are July stargazing events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury is low in the northwest sky during evening twilight and can’t be seen after the middle of the month. Venus can be seen in the northwest during morning twilight.

Mars is in the southwest at dusk and sets nearmidnight. Jupiter is low in the east before sunrise. Saturn is in the south west at dusk and sets near1 a.m.Uranus rises in the east after1 a.m.Neptunerises in the south east around10 p.m.

July 1 – Mercury is at its greatest elongation east of the sun low in the evening sky. The moon is closets to the Earth at 382,361 km.

July 3 – The full moon is called the Buck Moon.

July 9 – Venus is close to the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus in the morning sky.

July 10 – Quarter moon

July 13 – The moon is furthest away from the Earth at 404,782 km.

July 12 – Venus reaches its brightest in the morning sky.

July 15 – Make sure you wake up early this morning. Look towards the east and you will see the crescent moon pass between bright planets Venus and Jupiter around4 a.m.The event is also close to the Hyades and Plaides star clusters.

July 24 – The crescent moon is near Mars, Saturn and Spica in the south western sky at dusk.

July 26 – Quarter moon.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca.

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About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of public education for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at www.carrmarketinggroup.com or mariocarr@cogeco.ca.
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One Response to Summer is for stargazing

  1. Pingback: Shine on Harvest Moon | The sky this month

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