This Week’s Sky at a Look, July 12 – 20

July 12, 2019 - Comment

Because the gibbous Moon waxes to full this week it steps above Scorpius and Sagittarius, pairing with Jupiter and Saturn alongside the way in which. Friday, July 12 • The Moon this night kinds a triangle with Jupiter to its decrease left and Antares below it, as proven above. • Jupiter’s Nice Pink Spot ought

Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, July 12-16, 2019

Because the gibbous Moon waxes to full this week it steps above Scorpius and Sagittarius, pairing with Jupiter and Saturn alongside the way in which.

Friday, July 12

• The Moon this night kinds a triangle with Jupiter to its decrease left and Antares below it, as proven above.

• Jupiter’s Nice Pink Spot ought to cross the planet’s central meridian round 11:08 p.m. Japanese Daylight Time. For the total schedule of this month’s Pink Spot transits, good worldwide, see the July Sky & Telescope, web page 50.

Saturday, July 13

• The Moon and Jupiter cross the sky collectively tonight, as proven above. Throughout this month’s pairup of the 2, Jupiter is 1,700 instances farther than the Moon. Essentially the Moon is roughly the dimensions of Jupiter’s personal 4 Galilean moons, mere pinpoints as seen in a small scope or with good, steadily braced binoculars. This night for North America, all 4 seem on Jupiter’s celestial west aspect comparatively near the planet.

Sunday, July 14

• Now the Moon shines between Jupiter and Saturn, as proven above. Discover how steadily the 2 planets glow in comparison with twinkly vivid stars.

Monday, July 15

• The Moon accompanies Saturn throughout the sky tonight, as proven above. They seem simply 2° or three° aside for North America. Saturn is at the moment three,400 instances farther than the Moon — twice as distant as Jupiter.

Tuesday, July 16

• Full Moon (precise at 5:38 p.m. EDT). A partial lunar eclipse is seen from a lot of the world’s continents besides North America. Map, timetable, and full particulars.

For us in North America, the total Moon shines on simply as regular as will be, about 10° east of Saturn.

Wednesday, July 17

• Excessive within the northwest after darkish, the Huge Dipper has began its lengthy, gradual scoop towards the appropriate. Decrease within the north-northeast, in the meantime, the upright W of Cassiopeia has slowly begun to tilt and climb.

Thursday, July 18

• Week by week, vivid Arcturus is dropping a few of its peak within the west after darkish.

Search for Spica to the decrease left of Arcturus by about three fists at arm’s size. Decrease proper of Arcturus by the identical quantity is Denebola, the tailtip of Leo. These three stars type an virtually excellent equilateral triangle.

Jupiter and Saturn at nightfall, mid-July 2019

All this week Jupiter hangs higher left of Antares, and Saturn hangs higher left of the Sagittarius Teapot.

Friday, July 19

• The tail of Scorpius is low due south after darkish, as proven above. How low is dependent upon how far north or south you reside: the farther south, the upper.

Search for the 2 stars particularly shut collectively within the tail. These are Lambda and fainter Upsilon Scorpii, often called the Cat’s Eyes. They’re canted at an angle; the cat is tilting his head and winking.

The Cat’s Eyes level to the appropriate by almost a fist-width towards Mu Scorpii, a a lot tighter pair (proven as a single dot on the map) often called the Little Cat’s Eyes. They’re oriented virtually precisely the identical method as Lambda and Upsilon. Are your eyes sharp sufficient to resolve the Mu pair with out utilizing binoculars? Not many individuals can!

Saturday, July 20

• Scorpius is typically known as “the Orion of Summer time” for its brightness, its blue-white large stars, and its outstanding pink supergiant (Antares within the case of Scorpius, Betelgeuse for Orion). However Scorpius passes quite a bit decrease throughout the south than Orion does, for these of us at mid-northern latitudes. Meaning it has just one actually good night month: July.

Catch Scorpius due south simply after darkish now, earlier than it begins to tilt decrease towards the southwest. It is filled with deep-sky objects to hunt with a sky atlas and binoculars or a telescope, earlier than the waning gibbous Moon rises later tonight to gentle the sky.

• As soon as the Moon does rise within the east-southeast, ponder the second 50 years in the past at the moment when a person took step one onto one other world. The sundown terminator tonight is approaching Tranquillity Base, and every thing there should be casting lengthy shadows.


Need to develop into a greater astronomer? Study your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an out of doors nature passion. For an easy-to-use constellation information overlaying the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the heart of every problem of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and tons of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the evening. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The essential commonplace is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; almost thrice as many. The subsequent up, as soon as you realize your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And browse the way to use sky charts with a telescope.

You may additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, akin to Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas Companion by Robust and Sinnott, or the larger Night time Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for learners, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which are lower than top-quality mechanically (which means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can’t come with out creating the talents to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time below the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Mercury, Venus, and Mars are out of sight within the glare of the Solar. Mercury shall be again in view within the daybreak come August, however Venus and Mars are mainly gone till October.

Jupiter with Red Spot on July 2, 2019

Jupiter’s Nice Pink Spot seems fairly regular visually in a telescope, however study this high-res picture taken July 2nd by Christopher Go. South right here is up. Observe the small extensions on the spot’s previous (left) and south following (higher proper) sides. And, says Go, “Observe the flake exercise on the next aspect.”

Jupiter (magnitude –2.5, in southern Ophiuchus) is the white level evident within the south throughout and after nightfall. Orange Antares, fainter at magnitude, twinkles 7° or eight° to its decrease proper.

Jupiter and Antares type a large, shallow, virtually isosceles triangle with Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) to their proper. Delta, a long-term eruptive variable of the Gamma Cassiopeiae kind, has been not a lot fainter than Antares for a lot of the final 19 years — after it brightened by some 50%, with out warning, in July 2000.

In a telescope Jupiter continues to be a great 44 arcseconds extensive. See Bob King’s observing information to Jupiter.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.1, in Sagittarius) is simply previous its July ninth opposition. It is the regular, pale yellowish “star” within the southeast after darkish, about 30° east (left) of Jupiter. To Saturn’s decrease proper is the Sagittarius Teapot.

Saturn is highest for telescopic observing in the course of the evening — however nonetheless not very excessive for us northerners, as a result of it is south this yr: round declination –22°. Saturn’s rings are tilted a large 23° to our line of sight, not fairly as open as they have been for the final couple of years.

Uranus (magnitude 5.eight, in Aries) is excessive within the east earlier than the primary beginnings of daybreak.

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, in Aquarius) is excessive within the south by that point. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally depend upon longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out below the night sky together with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“This journey is made attainable by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a easy algorithm. Check concepts by experiments and observations. Construct on these concepts that move the take a look at. Reject those that fail. Observe the proof wherever it leads, and query every thing. Settle for these phrases, and the cosmos is yours.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014



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