For up to date news and events, keep (BIG) Bang up to date on my Blog:
Eagleseye Astronomy Blog.
The Mars Laboratory Curiosity is due to land on the surface of Mars on the 5th of August.
See their web page for further details, news and a great video of the landing.
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Sky condition prediction for Higham Ferrers.
ALL TIMES Universal Time BST Unless stated.
The Stars (22:00h on the 1st, 21:00h on the 15th and 20:00h on the 31st of the month).
High overhead at this time of night, the bright white star Vega in Lyra shines brightly down. Can you see the components of the double-double star next to it? The Milky Way is now well up stretching from the south, almost overhead in Cygnus and down to the North east in Perseus. Low in the south the top of the Sagittarius tea-pot can be seen with the fainter Capricornus to the east. Aquila with its bright star Altair is a bit higher up and lies in the Milky Way. This area is renowned for its faint planetary nebula which rewards the patient observer when they pop into view. In the western sky the Tail of Leo is just visible as the lion disappears over the horizon. The Bright yellow star Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, is also getting lower as autumn approaches. Ophiuchus is also starting to lose altitude. Towards the east Perseus is now starting to rise along with Triangulum and Aries. Higher up in the east Pegasus, The Flying Horse, gallops into view, bringing some galaxies, so make the most of those darker evenings.
Moon phase calendar above generated using Graphdark By Richard Fleet.
Click here to download.
Full – 2nd.
Last Qtr. – 9th.
New – 17th.
First Qtr. – 24th.
As an aid to identifying the planets and stars, the Moon will be close to:
The Pleiades and Hyades in Taurus on the 11th.
Jupiter on the 12th.
Venus on the 13th & 14th.
Mercury on the 16th.
Mars & Saturn on the 22nd.
Antares on the 24th.
Moves very quickly away from the Sun, appearing very low down in the eastern sky just before dawn.
The crescent Moon helps point the way as it is close by on the morning of the 16th.
Shining like a beacon in the eastern sky before dawn, at magnitude -4.11.
The god of love stays about 26 degrees above the eastern horizon at 5:00am throughout the month.
Also big and bright in the early morning sky at magnitude -2.
It is located in Taurus and in the eastern sky before dawn and getting higher.
Keep a look out for disturbances in its northern cloud belts which have been recently reported.
Not far from Mars, the ringed planet is now getting much more difficult to observe and will be lost in the Sun’s glare by the end of the month. Closest to Mars on the 15th.
At its highest altitude at 04:00 at magnitude +5.8 in Pisces. So theoretically at least it should be visible to the naked eye.
Binoculars will help you to identify it. A scope will show a small blue-green disk.
At its highest at 02:00 in Aquarius at around magnitude 8 it will need binoculars or a small telescope to identify.
The Perseids are at maximum on the 12th. With 80 meteors predicted per hour, and with the Moon well out of the way, we could be in for a good display.
A new solar cycle is now well under way, and the Sun has had a recent flurry of sunspot activity with some nice large spots groups now appearing regularly. There have also been some auroral activity seen as far south as Kent, so keep a look out.
There have also been some large prominences visible from time to time and some quite active flare regions.
So if you have access to a Ha solar scope, take a look.
All graphics for all the events below are in the enlarged PDF file here.
All times UT (GMT) Unless otherwise stated.
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