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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...



The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Wed. July 1 - The two brightest planets will be separated by only about two Moon widths tonight. Coincidentally, the diameters of Venus and Jupiter will both be 32"!

Wed. July 1 - Tonight will see the first of two Full Moons this month. Pick a view west of a lake to make the most of the romantic possibilities as the fully lit globe rises over the eastern mountains.

Sun. July 5 - Tonight the Moon will be at the closest part of its orbit (perigee) from the Earth and will appear at its largest.

Mon. July 6 - Spotting the outer planet Neptune is an exciting milestone for observers. Tonight the Moon provides a fingerpost since it will pass about the width of two fingers to the north of the blue planet. A telescope will sort out the small blue disk from nearby stars.

Mon. July 6 - Tonight Pluto reaches opposition, placing it due south in Sagittarius at midnight. Sky & Telescope, Astronomy and Sky News magazines have finder charts which will assist in locating it among the plentiful Milky Way stars. It would be neat to see it visually just 12 days before the New Horizons spacecraft pays its visit (See July 14).

Mon. July 6 - If this turns out to be a particularly hot day, a bit of consolation might be drawn from recollecting that Earth is at aphelion, the farthest point in its orbit from the Sun. It could be worse.

Wed. July 8 - This is Last Quarter Moon night, an encouraging indication that the dark sky period is fast approaching for deep sky sketching, observing and imaging. And at this time of the year in shirt sleeves.

Wed. July 8 - For those who took advantage of the Moon's proximity to view Neptune on the 6th, tonight our neighbour will appear about the width of your little finger from Uranus. Look about that distance south of the Moon to capture the pale green outer planet.

Thurs. July 9 - This has been a remarkable year for enjoying Venus as the evening star. Tonight it will be at its brightest of the tour, fully -4.7 magnitude.

Sun. July 12 - Early this morning the fingernail pairing crescent Moon will come within the width of three middle fingers from the red giant Aldebaran in Taurus low in the eastern sky.

Tues. July 14 -  This is the day we have been waiting for over the past eight years… the arrival of the New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto. It will be a hurried visit as the speedy probe streaks past Pluto, its large moon Charon and at least two smaller satellites in a matter of hours before heading outward toward the Kuiper Belt and further adventures. NASA assures that we will have lots of pictures to watch in coming days and weeks when the first of a treasure of images are downloaded from the spacecraft.

Wed. July 15 - This is New Moon night, the heart of this month's dark Moon period. Given favourable weather, the night sky will be all yours.

Sat. July 18 - The thin fingernail pairing crescent Moon will pass about the width of two fingers from still bright Jupiter and even closer to brilliant Venus low in the western evening twilight.

Wed. July 22 - The rapid movement of the Moon will be illustrated tonight and tomorrow night as the almost first quarter satellite moves from a position to the right of Spica in Virgo tonight to a similar distance upper left of it tomorrow night.

Fri. July 24 - This is First Quarter Moon night with the perfectly divided disk already high in the sky as evening begins.

Sun. July 26 - The waxing gibbous Moon passes just north of the ringed planet Saturn tonight.

Thurs. July 30 - The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours. As well as not being one of the more prominent showers, this one will also be competing with bright moonlight.  It would still be worthwhile looking for 'shooting stars' radiating upward from the southern sky in the early morning hours not only on this morning, but for a few days before and after as well.

Fri. July 31 - This is Full Moon night number two this month, providing another summer opportunity to enjoy the spleandor of the full Moon rising over the valley.

Fri. July 31 - Venus and Jupiter continue their dance routine tonight in the western twilight sky. Tonight the separation will only be about the width of three fingers.