What's Up in The Sky Now

Monthly Stargazing Targets  Getting Started in Astronomy

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 July 2021 (Notes by DMAS member Dave Lynch) 

  

The Planets 

After what seemed like a long absence of viewable planet spotting more than just one or two are putting in an appearance this month. And since we are within the dreaded Daylight Savings time bubble, more will be available as the evenings and month progress. 

MERCURY could be the star of the show this month. This inner planet will reach its highest point above the horizon on July 9th. Best time to spot Mercury is roughly a half hour before sunrise looking northeast.

VENUS will be easy to locate in the west just before and slightly after sunset in the west. What makes Venus worth looking at this month is it is keeping very close company with Mars.

EARTH is in one of its "anything can happen with the weather" stages. Experts (?) are predicting a very hot and dry summer so hopefully the humidity remains low and the skies will remain mostly clear after sunset. On July 5th, Earth reaches its farthest distance from the sun. Then why is it so hot?

MARS is starting to fade in light output this month. Between July 10th to the 13th, Mars will be easy to spot as it is keeping close company with both Venus and a thin crescent moon. Catch this trio just after sunset.

JUPITER is speeding back into the "normal" night sky this month. Rising around 11:00 pm our time at the start of the month, it will start to put in an appearance much sooner as the month goes on. 

SATURN is clearing the horizon just after sunset and should we high enough so you won't have to wait all night to see it. Best part about Saturn is it jumps above the horizon close to 8:00 pm by the end of July.

URANUS is one of the early morning planets again this month. High in the south at sunrise, Uranus is traveling through Aries this month. The blue-green color should make this tiny orb easy to spot even using binoculars.

NEPTUNE is also traversing the very early morning sky in Aquarius. Following Jupiter, Neptune rises around midnight and will climb high enough in the south just before sunrise to make it fairly easy to locate.

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Moon 

  • Last Quarter -> July 01

  • New Moon -> July 09

  • First Quarter -> July 17

  • Full Moon -> July 23

Other topics this month: 

GREAT RED SPOT'S SHRINKING EXPLAINED:

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter has been getting slightly smaller over the past couple of years and finally someone has put forth a believable answer. The Red Spot, which has been around for maybe billions of years has lost half of its diameter lately. Someone figured out that in the past two to three years the Red Spot has been under attack from several small White Spots that have been nibbling away at outer edges of the larger Red Spot. These experts have stated that the Red Spot won't completely disappear but may remain in its smaller shape for a very long time. The Red Spot has been described as a giant hurricane and some of the satellite information sent back say this hurricane is over 200 miles in height. I think it will be around for a while no matter how much the smaller spots attack it.


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Meteor Showers

web fireball 9x12Meteor showers come each year at the same time. Click here to see a list and descriptions.

 

 

 

 

 

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