Find out what to go out and look at this month

Planets:

Mercury will be viewable for the first few days of July, very low on the horizon in the constellation of Taurus (The Bull) before disappearing into the sun’s glare. It will return later in the month in the constellation Leo (The Lion) for the last three days low in the evening sky. Venus can be found low in the constellation of Taurus until the middle of the month when it moves through the constellation of Orion (The Hunter) and into the constellation of Gemini (The Twins).

Mars is viewable in the early morning, and it’ll move from the constellation of Pisces (The Fish) to the constellation of Aries (The Ram) at the beginning of the second week of July. Jupiter will be in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster) throughout July, rising around Midnight. Saturn can still be found late in the evening throughout July in between the constellations of Capricornus (The Sea-Goat) and Aquarius (The Water Bearer).

Uranus is rising in the early morning in between the constellations of Aries and Taurus. At the very end of July, it will be awfully close to Mars. Neptune is just above Jupiter, close to the more northern than fish of the cancellation of Pisces. It’s rising before midnight throughout July.

The planets in alignment on the 01/07/22 at 06:15 am. Image Credit: Stellarium
PlanetWhen It Rises Or Sets
MercuryAt the start of July, it rises at 06:00 am (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll set at 06:47 pm (AWST)
VenusAt the start of July, it rises at 05:02 am (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 05:45 am (AWST)
MarsAt the start of July, it rises at 01:41 am (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 01:19 am (AWST)
JupiterAt the start of July, it rises at 00:12 am (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 10:15 pm (AWST)
SaturnAt the start of July, it rises at 8:47 pm (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 06:40 pm (AWST)
UranusAt the start of July, it rises at 03:22 am (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 01:28 am (AWST)
NeptuneAt the start of July, it rises at 11:12 pm (AWST), and by the end of the month, it’ll rise at 9:12 pm (AWST)

Conjunctions And Occultations:

Conjunctions involve object(s) in the Solar System and/or more distant objects, such as a star. It’s an apparent phenomenon in which multiple objects which aren’t close together appear close in the sky and it’s caused by the observer’s perspective. An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer.

Astronomical Events This Month:

The Delta Aquarids:

The Delta Aquarids meteor shower is due to peak on the night of the 28th/29th of July and they’ll favour southern hemisphere observers, which includes observers in Perth. The shower is active from the 12th of July to the 23rd of August, and they can vary in their hourly rate each year between 10 to 20 meteors per hour. In 2022, we have a New Moon, so we won’t have to deal with any light pollution from it.

The apparent radiant for the Delta Aquarids is in the constellation of Aquarius, and it can be viewable from 08:00 pm (AWST) on the 28th, but it’ll be best to wait until around 03:00 am on the 29th. The source of the Delta Aquariids is believed to be the comet 96P/Machholz 1 which was part of the unnamed ancient stream of Kreutz Sungrazing comets.

The Delta Aquarids on the 28/07/22 at 05:00 am. Image Credit: Stellarium
A meteor from the Delta Aquarids. Image Credit: David S. Brown

Things To Look At This Month:

Hercules Globular Cluster:

The Hercules Cluster (Messier 13 & NGC 6205) is a Globular Cluster located 22-25,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Hercules. About 168 light-years in diameter, it contains several hundred thousand stars that are 11.5 billion years old. Compared to the stars in the neighbourhood of the Sun, the stars of the M13 population are more than a hundred times more densely packed. They are so close together that they sometimes collide and produce new stars called “Blue Stragglers”.

Messier 13 was discovered by Edmond Halley in 1714, and catalogued by Charles Messier into his catalogue of objects not to mistake for comets. In binoculars, the Hercules Globular Cluster appears as a round patch of light, and a telescope that’s at least 4″ in diameter will resolves stars in M13’s outer extent as small pinpoints of light. In 1974, the Arecibo message, which contained encoded information about the human race, DNA, atomic numbers, Earth’s position and other information, was beamed from the Arecibo Observatory towards Messier 13. This was an experiment to contact potential extraterrestrial civilizations in the cluster. The cluster will move through space during the transit of the message and there are different opinions on whether or not the cluster will still receive the message.

The Hercules Globular Cluster on the 15/07/22 at 09:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
The Hercules Globular Cluster. Image Credit: Mount Lemmon SkyCenter
Wild Duck Cluster:

The Wild Duck Cluster (Messier 11 & NGC 6705) is an open cluster of stars located 6,120 light-years away in the constellation Scutum (the Shield). Messier 11 is one of the richest and most compact of the known open clusters, it’s also one of the most massive open clusters with a diameter of 190 light-years and containing over 2,900 stars which are estimated to be 316 million years old. The cluster was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1681 and its name derives from the brighter stars forming a triangle that could resemble a flying flock of ducks. Of the 26 open clusters included in the Messier catalogue, M11 is the most distant that can be seen with the naked eye.

The Wild Duck Cluster on the 15/07/22 at 09:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
The Wild Duck Cluster. Image Credit: Josep Drudis
Butterfly Cluster:

The Butterfly Cluster (M6 & NGC 6405) is an open cluster of about 120 stars in the constellation Scorpius (The Sciporn). Messier 6 is about 1600 light-years away from Earth with the stars in the cluster estimated to be between 55 and 100 million years old. Visually, it is slightly smaller than the Full Moon and has a width of 12 light-years and is 25 light-years long. You got to be careful that you do not confuse M6 with its brighter, southeast neighbour M7. Discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654, but his data was not found until the 1980s. It was also independently discovered by Philippe de Chesaeux in 1745/6 and Messier catalogued it in 1764 as M6. As of January 2022, the Butterfly Cluster is one of the few remaining objects within the Messier Catalog to not have been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Butterfly Cluster on the 15/07/22 at 09:00pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
The Butterfly Cluster. Image Credit: Josep Drudis
DY Crucis:

The star DY Crucis is a Carbon Star very close to Mimosa (Beta Crucis) and the Jewel Box Cluster (NGC 4755) and is 4,077 light-years away from Earth. A carbon star is a giant star in a late phase of evolution. It is somewhat similar to a red giant, but its atmosphere contains more carbon than oxygen. They tend to be variable stars, increasing and decreasing their size and variability over time.

DY Crucis’s colour is a striking cherry red colour. The reason for the star’s colour is its atmosphere is full of carbon “soot” in the form of carbon and carbon compounds. This soot reflects and scatters blue light but allows red light to filter through, much the same as what happens at sunset. Its surface temperature also plays a role, DY Crucis’s surface temperature is below 3,500 Kelvin, so it’s a cool star and would appear a shade of red. To put this in context, the temperature of our Sun is about 5,778 Kelvin.

The star DY Crucis on the 15/07/22 at 09:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
The star DY Crucis. Image Credit: Sebastion on Astrobin

Phases Of The Moon:

July 2022 Moon phases