This Week’s Sky at a Look, July 26 – August three

July 26, 2019 - Comment

As daybreak begins to brighten on July 27th by 29th, the waning crescent Moon hangs in Taurus. Friday, July 26 • The waning crescent Moon crosses Taurus for the subsequent three mornings earlier than daybreak, as proven right here. To catch the Pleiades and Aldebaran take a look at least 1½ hours earlier than your

Moon in Taurus with Aldebaran, July 27-29, 2019

As daybreak begins to brighten on July 27th by 29th, the waning crescent Moon hangs in Taurus.

Friday, July 26

• The waning crescent Moon crosses Taurus for the subsequent three mornings earlier than daybreak, as proven right here. To catch the Pleiades and Aldebaran take a look at least 1½ hours earlier than your personal native dawn time, regardless of when that’s.

Saturday, July 27

• The 2 brightest stars of summer time are Vega, overhead quickly after darkish, and Arcturus, shining within the west. Draw a line down from Vega to Arcturus. A 3rd of the way in which down, the road crosses the dim Keystone of Hercules. Two thirds of the way in which down it crosses the dim semicircle of Corona Borealis with its one modestly vibrant star, Alphecca or Gemma.

Vega and the Keystone’s star closest to it type an equilateral triangle with Eltanin to their north, the nostril of Draco the Dragon. Eltanin is the brightest star of Draco’s quadrilateral head; he is endlessly eyeing Vega.

Sunday, July 28

• After dusk, Altair shines within the east-southeast. It is the second-brightest star on the japanese facet of the sky, after Vega very excessive to its higher left. Above Altair by a finger-width at arm’s size is little orange Tarazed.

A bit greater than a fist-width to Altair’s left or decrease left is little Delphinus, the Dolphin, leaping leftward.

Above the midpoint between Altair and Delphinus is even fainter, smaller Sagitta, the Arrow.

Monday, July 29

• We’re not but midway by summer time, however already W-shaped Cassiopeia, a constellation of fall and winter evenings, is climbing up within the northeast as night grows late. And the Nice Sq. of Pegasus, emblem of fall, comes as much as stability on one nook simply over the japanese horizon.

Tuesday, July 30

• The tail of Scorpius is low due south proper after darkish. How low relies on 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 known as the Cat’s Eyes. They’re canted at an angle; the cat is tilting his head and winking.

The Cat’s Eyes level west (proper) by practically a fist-width towards Mu Scorpii, a a lot tighter pair often known as the Little Cat’s Eyes. They’re oriented virtually precisely the identical method as Lambda and Upsilon however are solely one-sixth as far aside. Deliver binoculars!

Wednesday, July 31

Fourth star of the Summer time Triangle. The subsequent-brightest star close to the Summer time Triangle, if you wish to flip it right into a quadrilateral, is Rasalhague, the top of Ophiuchus. Face south quickly after darkish. You will discover Rasalhague about equally far proper of Altair and decrease proper of Vega. Altair is the Summer time Triangle’s lowest star now. Vega, practically overhead, is its brightest.

• New Moon (precise at 11:12 p.m. EDT)

Thursday, August 1

• The Sagittarius Teapot hangs within the south these evenings, to the decrease proper of Saturn. It is starting to tilt to pour from its spout to the correct. The Teapot will tilt additional for the remainder of the summer time — and for a lot of the night time when you keep out late.

• Right this moment is Lammas Day or Lughnasadh, one of many 4 conventional “cross-quarter” days halfway between the solstices and equinoxes. Kind of. The precise midpoint between the June solstice and the September equinox this yr comes at 7:52 a.m. August seventh Jap Daylight Time (11:52 UT). That’s the precise center-balance of astronomical summer time: the very peak of the yr. (Though the peak of warmth within the Northern Hemisphere typically come earlier, in July.)

Jupiter and Saturn over Scorpius and Sagittarius, early August 2019

All week, Jupiter and Saturn stay by Scorpius and Sagittarius at dusk.

Friday, August 2

• Vibrant Vega passes closest to overhead round 11 p.m., relying on how far east or west you reside in your time zone. How carefully it misses your zenith relies on how far north or south you might be. It passes proper by your zenith when you’re at latitude 39° north (Washington DC, Cincinnati, Kansas Metropolis, Lake Tahoe). How carefully are you able to choose this simply by trying?

Deneb crosses closest to the zenith virtually precisely two hours after Vega.

Saturday, August three

• The Massive Dipper hangs diagonally within the northwest after darkish. From its midpoint, look to the correct to search out Polaris (not very vibrant) glimmering due north as all the time.

Polaris is the handle-end of the Little Dipper. The one different elements of the Little Dipper which might be even modestly vibrant are the 2 stars forming the outer finish of its bowl. On August evenings you may discover them to Polaris’s higher left (by a couple of fist and a half at arm’s size). They’re known as the Guardians of the Pole, since they circle round Polaris all through the night time and all year long.


Need to turn into a greater astronomer? Be taught your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding all the things fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature interest. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the middle of every concern 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 night time. 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 fundamental normal 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; practically thrice as many. The subsequent up, as soon as you understand your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim tips on how to use sky charts with a telescope.

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

Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for novices, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which might be 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 abilities to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Mercury, Venus, and Mars stay out of sight within the glare of the Solar. Mercury will emerge into daybreak view subsequent week, however Venus and Mars are principally gone till October.

Jupiter on July 18, 2019

The non-Crimson-Spot facet of Jupiter, imaged on July 18th by Christopher Go. South right here is up. Observe the blue festoons within the Equatorial Zone, the brilliant marking at certainly one of them, and the pronounced, even ripples within the south fringe of the brilliant North Tropical Zone.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.four, between the legs of Ophiuchus) is the white level evident within the south throughout and after nightfall. Orange Antares, a lot fainter at magnitude, twinkles 7° to its decrease proper.

Jupiter and Antares type a shallow isosceles triangle with Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) to their proper. Delta, a long-term eruptive variable of the Gamma Cassiopeiae kind, hasn’t been 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 remains to be 43 arcseconds vast. See Bob King’s observing information to Jupiter.

Saturn on July 18, 2019

Saturn as imaged by Go the identical night time. Some very advantageous strains could also be spurious. South is up.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.1, in Sagittarius) is the regular, pale yellowish “star” within the south-southeast throughout and after nightfall, 31° left of Jupiter. Look decrease proper of Saturn for the Sagittarius Teapot.

In a telescope Saturn’s rings are tilted a large 24.7° to our line of sight.

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

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, in Aquarius) is excessive within the south at the moment. 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.

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


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


“This journey is made doable by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a easy algorithm. Check concepts by experiments and observations. Construct on these concepts that go the check. Reject those that fail. Observe the proof wherever it leads, and query all the things. Settle for these phrases, and the cosmos is yours.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014



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