July 2011 Sky & Space Events

July 2, 2011 | By | 3 Comments
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These notes are intended to provide a casual skywatcher or someone already into amateur astronomy living on the East Coast of Australia with a short summary of what is happening in the night sky in July 2011. Instructions on how to obtain customised satellite viewing information for your location can be found here. If you find this page of interest, you may wish to follow this website automatically using Twitter and the sites RSS Feed.

Planets this month (July 2011)

Mercury is visible low above the Western horizon in the evening twilight for the whole of July. It reaches its greatest elongation East of the Sun on 20 July.

Venus is effectively lost in the glare of the rising (morning) Sun from the start of July.

Mars is visible in the morning sky and rises just after 4 am mid-month. Find it by looking for the pale orange star below Aldebaran in the Hyades open cluster. This looks like an upside down V above the Eastern horizon.

Saturn is visible high above the Northern Western horizon once twilight ends. By mid-July, Saturn is setting around 11 pm.

Jupiter is visible in the morning sky and rises around 1 am mid-month. With Venus lost in the Sun’s morning glare, Jupiter is now the brightest celestial object in the night sky – excluding the Moon.

Uranus rises around 11 pm mid-month and a telescope will be required to easily identify the planet.

Neptune rises around 8 pm mid-month and a telescope will be required to easily identify the planet.

Individual sky events (July 2011)

All times listed for the AEST time zone (U.T. plus 10 hours).  Add one hour to times listed if your state or territory follows daylight savings time.

July 1: Partial Solar Eclipse. Not directly visible from Australia.

The European Space Agency's Proba-2 satellite captured the 1 July 2011 Partial Solar Eclipse from space. The eclipse was not directly visible from Australia. Image credit: ESA/Proba-2 team

July 1: 6.54 pm New Moon

July 3: Slim crescent Moon located above and to the right of Mercury. Evening twilight sky. Look low above the above Western horizon.

July 5: 1 am Earth at aphelion

July 6: Venus at ascending node

July 7: Midnight. Moon at perigee (closest to Earth in its orbit at 369,570km).

July 8: 4.29 pm First Quarter Moon

July 8: Saturn, the First Quarter Moon and the star Spica (the brightest star in the ancient Greek constellation Virgo the Virgin) form a temporary triangle in the evening night sky.

July 8: Mars at ascending node

July 9: At the time of writing, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on the last ever Space Shuttle flight.

July 10: 6 pm Uranus stationary

July 15: Full Moon

July 15: Mercury at descending mode

July 20: 3 pm Mercury at greatest elongation East (27 degrees)

July 22: 9 am Moon at apogee (furthest from the Earth in its orbit at 404,355km).

July 23: 3.02 pm Last Quarter Moon

July 24: Waning crescent Moon located below and to the left of Jupiter. Morning sky.

July 26: Mercury at aphelion

July 28: Moon located below and to the right of Mars. Morning pre-dawn sky. Look low above the North East horizon.

July 29: Midnight. Minor planet (or asteroid) Pallas at opposition. It will reach magnitude 9.5 – easily putting it with reach of amateur sized telescopes. It will only appear as a faint star through a telescope. You will need to observe it over a few nights to notice any movement.

July 30: Southern-delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. One of the Southern hemisphere’s most reliable meteor showers, up to 20 meteors per hour are visible under dark sky conditions. More information can be found at http://www.imo.net/calendar/2011#sda

July 31: 4.40am New Moon.

For Further Information

Planet and Moon Rise/Set Times

Planet and Moon rise/set times for 2011 can be found here on this website.

Customised Astronomy & Satellite Viewing information

Information on how to obtain customised astronomy & satellite viewing information for your location can be found here on this website.

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