turned out to be a very poor month for astrophotography. High
winds and low visibility made things very challenging. My primary
targets for the month were Jupiter and Saturn, but you can’t always get
what you want!
was discovered in 1779 by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix. Charles
Messier discovered it a few days later. The “ring” is believed to be
the outer layers of a dying red giant star. The tiny white dwarf star
in the center of the ring is what remains of the core of the star. The
M57 has a visual magnitude of +8.8, and like NGC 7023, is estimated to
be 1400 light years away.
What to Look for in July 2017.
Jupiter starts the month fairly high in the sky towards the SSW.
Saturn will start the month in the SE.
will be visible near the Eastern horizon in the early morning hours.
Throughout the month, it will rise just after 3 a.m. Venus is
very bright (visual magnitude of -4) and a gem to see with the naked
eye. Venus’s atmosphere is basically a cloud of carbon
dioxide. The cloud reflects the sunlight and obscures all of the
planet’s features, so it looks like a white sphere through a telescope.
The carbon dioxide atmosphere also causes a greenhouse effect on Venus,
resulting in an 850 degree surface temperature.
Mercury will be visible near the Western horizon just after sundown for most of the month.
will rise in the east just before midnight on July 1. With a
visual magnitude of +7.9, you need a telescope to view this blue gas
giant planet! Neptune is about 4 times the diameter of the
Earth. It has 13 moons and takes about 165 years to orbit the sun.
will be in the night skies for all of July too, but don’t expect to see
it. With a visual magnitude of +14, you need a powerful telescope to
get a glimpse of this dwarf planet.
Delta Aquarids meteor shower will be at its peak on the morning of July
30. The shooting stars will appear to originate from the constellation
Aquarius, which will be high in the Southern sky at 1:30 AM on the
morning of the 30th.
Moon Phases:1st Quarter is the 30th Full Moon is the 9th 3rd Quarter is the 16th New Moon is the 23th
Lebing is a retired computer scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey
in Washington, D.C. He has visited Hatteras Island since the
mid-1970s. He and his wife, Karen, have owned property here for several
years and moved to their home in Waves full-time in 2013.
Astronomy is a subject that Gerry says he has always been interested in
and one that he pursues seriously -- he's built an small observatory
next to his house. You can send him questions about the night sky
through e-mail, [email protected]g.)