June 30, 2013

What's Up in July: A month of watching and observing

By BERNIE REIM

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

SKY GUIDE: This chart represents the sky as it appears over Maine during July. The stars are shown as they look at 10:30 p.m. early in the month, at 9:30 p.m. at midmonth and at 8:30 p.m. at month’s end. Saturn and Venus are shown in their midmonth positions. To use the map, hold it vertically and turn it so that the direction you are facing is at the bottom.

Sky chart prepared by George Ayers

JULY HIGHLIGHTS

July 4. On this day in 1054, Chinese astronomers along with native Americans at Chaco Canyon observed the supernova in Taurus that is now M1, or the Crab Nebula.

July 5. Earth is at aphelion, or farthest from the sun today at 94,509,959 miles, or 1.7 percent more than its average distance and 3.3 percent farther than its perihelion distance in January. Look for a waning crescent moon near Aldebaran in Taurus a half-hour before sunrise.

July 6. On this day in 1687, Isaac Newton published his Principia book.

July 8. New moon at 3:14 a.m.

July 15. First-quarter moon at 11:18 p.m.

July 16. On this day in 1994, the first of 21 fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted Jupiter. I was lucky enough to witness five impacts first hand over the next six days.

July 22. Mars and Jupiter will be less than one degree apart 45 minutes before sunrise low in the east-northeastern sky in Gemini. Mercury will be visible below this pair. Bring binoculars. At dusk on that day, Venus and Regulus will be just over one degree apart. Full moon is at 2:16 p.m., also called the Hay or Thunder Moon.

July 29. Last-quarter moon is at 1:43 p.m. The Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this morning.

Bernie Reim of Wells is co-director of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England.

 

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