July 2013 Sky & Space Events

June 22, 2013 | By | Add a Comment
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These notes are intended to provide a casual sky watcher or someone already into amateur astronomy living in Eastern Australia with a summary of what is happening in the night sky in July 2013. The finder charts have been produced for an observer based on the Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) but will be useful for observers elsewhere in Eastern Australia.

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 for July 2013

Venus is visible low above the Western horizon as evening twilight ends. Saturn is visible above the Northern horizon at the end of evening twilight. Mars and Jupiter are visible low above the North Eastern horizon as morning twilight begins. Neptune rises around 8:15 pm mid-month and Uranus rises just after 11 pm mid-month. Mercury moves into the morning sky and becomes visible in the bright morning twilight in the second half of July.

Meteor Showers for July 2013

The location of the Moon in the morning sky as July ends will unfortunately interfere with the visibility of faint meteors from three reliable meteor showers that occur this month. More information on the α-Capricornids, Southern δ-Aquariids and the Piscis Austrinids meteor shower can be found on the International Meteor Organisation website at http://imo.net/calendar/2013.

Individual Sky Events for July 2013

 All times AEST unless otherwise stated.

All month: If you are lucky enough to live away from bright street lights, don’t forget to look for the ancient Aboriginal constellation The Emu. Unlike traditional European constellations, Aboriginal constellations can use the dark patches (in reality giant dust clouds drifting in space that obscure light from background stars) in the Milky Way to represent creatures from the Dreamtime. Background information about the Emu can be found at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/07/27/2632463.htm#.UaIGsfFqM7y. The head of the Emu is made up of what astronomers refer to as the Coal Sack nebula located in the constellation Crux (more commonly known as the Southern Cross) and the body stretches across the ancient Greek constellation Scorpius and the legs past it. It is an enormous constellation and once you have seen it from a dark sky site, you will wonder why you had never noticed it before. A finder chart can be found at http://astroblogger.blogspot.com.au/2009/07/seeing-emu.html. Note that the real constellation is much more like an emu than that shown in the finder chart.

2 July 2013: 10 am Pluto at opposition

5 July 2013: Venus at greatest latitude North

5 July 2013: Moon and Aldebaren close (morning sky)

6 July 2013: 1 am Earth at aphelion (1.01671 astronomical units from the Sun)

Uranus and Moon finder chart for 5 am AEST 3 June 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Comet 2011 F1 LINEAR wide angle finder chart for 5 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Comet 2011 F1 LINEAR wide angle finder chart for 5 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Comet 2011 F1 LINEAR wide finder chart for 5 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

6 July 2013: 5 am Comet C/2011 F1 (LINEAR) located close to the star e Eridani. The comet is forecast to only reach magnitude +11.7 requiring a dark sky and and a minimum 8 inch aperture telescope to have your best view of the comet. e Eridani is magnitude +4.26.

Comet 2011 F1 LINEAR wide angle finder chart for 5 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Mars and crescent Moon finder chart for 5.30 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

6 July 2013: Moon and Mars close. Morning twilight sky.

7 July 2013: 11 am Moon at apogee (406,490 km from the Earth in its orbit)

8 July 2013: 5:14 pm New Moon

9 July 2013: 2 pm Saturn stationary

10 July 2013: 5 am Mercury in inferior conjunction

Mars and crescent Moon finder chart for 5.30 am AEST 6 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Venus and crescent Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 11 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

11 July 2013: Venus and Moon close. As evening twilight ends.

16 July 2013: 1:18 pm First Quarter Moon

Venus and crescent Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 11 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Saturn and gibbous Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 17 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

17 July 2013: Saturn and Moon close. Evening sky.

18 July 2013: 10 am Uranus stationary

19 July 2013: Mercury at greatest latitude South

20 July 2013: Midnight Mercury stationary

22 July 2013: 6 am Moon at perigee (358,401 km from the Earth in its orbit)

Venus and crescent Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 11 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Mercury, Mars and Jupiter finder chart for 5:30 am AEST 22 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

22 July 2013: Mercury, Mars  and  Jupiter visible low on the North East horizon before morning twilight begins.

Venus and crescent Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 11 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Venus and Regulus finder chart for 6:30 pm AEST 22 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

22 July 2013: Venus and Regulus (the brightest star in the ancient Greek constellation Leo the Lion) close. After evening twilight ends.

23 July 2013: 4:16 am Full Moon

30 July 2013: 3:43 am Last Quarter Moon

Venus and crescent Moon finder chart for 7 pm AEST 11 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Mercury, Mars and Jupiter finder chart for 5:30 am AEST 30 July 2013. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

30 July 2013: 7 pm Mercury at greatest elongation West (19.6 degrees)

For Further Information

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.

Information About The Finder Charts

Charts accompanying this article have been produced with permission using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Stars are shown to 5th magnitude. This is a compromise between what would be seen from a dark sky site and the reality that most people live in cities or towns with significant light pollution.

References 

The information in this post has been prepared using the following references.

Astronomy 2013, Quasar Publishing http://www.quasarastronomy.com.au/
Sky Safari Pro Ipad app, http://www.southernstars.com/products/skysafari/index.html

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