Mercury is best seen around 9.30 pm in the constellation Cancer and later Leo. Venus is best seen just after 9 pm in the constellation Leo. Mars is best seen around 4.30 am in the constellation Gemini. Jupiter is best seen around 9.30 pm in the constellation Leo. Saturn is best seen from just before 10 pm until 0.40 am in the constellation Libra. To see Uranus you will need a small telescope or binocular but is best seen from 1 am until about 3 am in the constellation Pisces.
The Moon is a Full Moon on Friday 31 July. It is the second Full Moon this month and is called a Blue Moon. See the Special in this paper.
Sun rise is at 5.18 am and sets at 9.07 pm. The Sun rises in a week’s time 11 minutes later in the morning and sets 12 minutes earlier in the evening. The days are getting shorter.
Wednesday 29 July
A double Iridium flare appearance at 10.19 pm. One in the North North West at altitude 14° in the constellation Auriga. And at the same time one in the West North West at altitude 13° in constellation Coma Berenices. At midnight the planet Mars is close to the star P78 Geminorum.
The International Space Station (ISS) appears shortly at 1.13 am in the South South East at 61° and disappears at 1.18 am in the Eastern horizon. The Milky Way is visible at the Zenith at about 2.25 am. The observation will be affected by the Moon though. The Moon phase is 97%, just before Full Moon. ISS appears again after its orbit of about 90 minutes at 2.45 am in the West. Culmination at 2.49 am in the South South West at 57°. ISS disappears at 2.54 am in the East South East horizon.
Look for the meteor shower Beta-Cassiopeids. Best seen from 10.50 pm to 3.40 am. Local hour rate expected to be 5.8 and velocity is 51.6km/s, which is rather rapid. Maximum is not visible but is at 8 am. The meteor stream is active from 3 July to 19 August.
ISS appears once more at 4.20 am in the West. Culmination at 4.25 am in the South South West at 22°. ISS disappears at 4.30 am in the South East horizon.
Thursday 30 July
ISS appears at 10.38 pm in the South South West and disappears already after 4 minutes at 10.42 pm in the South at 14°. An Iridium flare at 11.22 pm in the West North West at altitude 12° in the constellation Leo. ISS appears again after midnight at 0.14 am in the West South West. Culmination at 0.19 am in the South South East at 49° and disappears at 0.21 am in the East at 19°. ISS appears once more after its 90 minutes orbit at 1.54 am in the West at 28°. Culmination at 1.55 am in the South at 66° and disappears at 2.01 am in the East.
The Milky Way should be well visible at about 2.20 am at the Zenith. The observations will be affected by the Moon though. It is about Full Moon!
ISS appears once more at 3.26 am in the West. Culmination at 3.31 am in the South South West at 33° and disappears at 3.36 am in the South East horizon.
Watch at about 4 am the meteor shower Beta-Cassiopeids. The local hour rate expected to be 5 and the velocity is 51.6km/s which is rather rapid for a meteor.
At 4.40 am the Moon is close to the star Dabih. Limb separation is only 1.30° or 2.38 lunar diameters. The Moon is only 6° high though and the Moon phase is 99.7% or nearly Full Moon. In addition, to make it even a bigger challenge, the Sun is only -5.0° or just under the horizon.
Friday 31 July
At 11.42 am it is Full Moon. Watch this after the Moon rises in the evening at 8.43 pm. This is the second Full Month of the month July and is called a Blue Moon. See Special about this.
At 8.58 pm the planet Venus is in conjunction in Right Ascension with Jupiter. Venus is 6.4° separated from center of Jupiter.
ISS appears at 9.45 pm at the South South West horizon. Culmination at 9.50 pm in the South East at only 11° and disappears at 9.54 pm in the Eastern horizon. At 9.57 pm an Iridium flare appears in the North North West at an altitude of 19° in the constellation Lynx. ISS appears 11.20 pm in the South West. Culmination at 11.26 pm in the South South East at 38° and disappears at 11.28 pm in the East at 15°. Two flares appear with only 1 minute apart. One at 11.35 pm in the West North West at an altitude of 9° in the constellation Leo. And one minute after at 11.36 pm in the West South West at an altitude 39° in the constellation Hercules.
ISS appears once more after midnight at 0.56 am in the Western horizon. ISS disappears at 1.01 am in the West South West at 35°. At 2.15 am the Milky Way is visible at the Zenith. Still, the observation is affected by the Moon which is still 99% illuminated and past Full Moon.
ISS appears at 2.33 am in the West. Culmination at 2.38 am in the South South West at 44°. ISS disappears at 2.43 am in the East South East horizon. At 2.59 am a very bright flare appears in the West North West at altitude 36° in the constellation Hercules. And it is ISS night … ISS appears again at dawn at 4.10 am in the West. Culmination at 4.14 am in the South West at 15°. ISS disappears at 4.18 am in the South South East horizon. Close the morning observations off with a bright flare at 4.37 am in the West at altitude 66° in the constellation Cygnus.
Saturday 1 August
Today in 1831 the “new” London Bridge opened to traffic.
ISS appears at 10.27 pm in the South West. Culmination or highest point at 10.32 pm in the South South East at 27°. ISS disappears at 10.37 pm in the East. At 11.57 pm an Iridium flare appears in the North West at an altitude 5° in the constellation of Leo. ISS appears again after midnight at 0.03 am in the West South West. Culmination at 0.08 am in the South at 62°. ISS disappears at 0.09 am in the East South East at 37°. And once more a short pass of ISS at 1.39 am in the West and disappears already at 1.42 am in the West at 14°.
Look at 2.10 am for the Milky Way at the Zenith. However the observation is a little affected by the Moon which is for 96% illuminated and just past Full Moon. Close the morning off with an Iridium flare at 2.56 am in the West North West at an altitude of 35° in the constellation of Hercules.
Sunday 2 August
Today in 1880 the Greenwich Mean Time or GMT was adopted officially by Parliament. So Greenwich time became civil time for England, Scotland and Wales. And … today in 2027 is the next total solar eclipse for Gibraltar. The last total solar eclipse they had was on 22 December 1870. But they have less than a year after an annular solar eclipse on 26 January 2028.
Not that you will notice, but at 7 am the planet Saturn is stationary in the sky. And at 11.10 am the Moon is in perigee. The distance of the Moon center to the Earth center is 226326.7 miles or 362122.7 km.
In Tissington we will have some Solar telescopes set up. We have the Secret Gardens in Tissington and our garden will be open along with some telescopes to watch the Sun. Hopefully we have a clear sky!
ISS appears at 9.34 pm in the South South West. Culmination at 9.39 pm in the South South East at 19°. ISS disappears at 9.44 pm in the East. Another ISS pass at 11.09 pm in the West South West. Culmination at 11.15 pm in the South South East at 52°. ISS disappears at 11.18 pm in the East. A short ISS pass appears at 0.46 am in the West and already disappears at 0.50 am in the West South West at 42°. Look for the Milky Way at the Zenith just after 2 am. The Moon is still rather bright with 91% illumination just past Full Moon.
Monday 3 August
Today in 1926 the first traffic lights in Britain were installed at Piccadilly Circus in London.
ISS appears at 10.16 pm in the West South West and culmination at 10.21 pm in the South South East at 40°. ISS disappears at 10.26 pm in the East. At 11.47 pm an Iridium flare appears in the West South West at altitude 34° in the constellation of Serpens Caput. ISS appears once more at 11.52 pm in the West. Culmination at 11.57 pm in the South at 68° and ISS disappears at 11.58 pm in the East South East in the Earth’s shadow at 45°. Another double flare at 1.14 am in the South South West at altitude 50° in the constellation Aquila and 1 minute later at 1.15 am another flare in the South South West at altitude 49° in the constellation Aquila. A short ISS pass at 1.28 am in the West and disappears already at 1.31 am in the West at 12°.
At about 2 am look for the Milky Way at the Zenith. The Moon is still 82% illuminated. The morning closes with a flare at 2.50 am in the North West at altitude 31° in the constellation Hercules.
Tuesday 4 August
At 9.22 pm an Iridium flare in the North North West at altitude 27° in the constellation Lynx. ISS appears at 9.23 pm in the South West. Culmination at 9.28 pm in the South South East at 29°. ISS disappears at 9.33 pm in the East. At 10.47 pm Venus is in conjunction with Jupiter. Only about 7° separated from the center of Jupiter. ISS appears at 10.59 pm in the West South West. Culmination at 11.04 pm in the South at 64°. ISS disappears at 11.06 pm in the East at 16°. And once more a short ISS pass at 0.35 am in the West and disappears already after 4 minutes at 0.39 am in the West South West at 32°. Look at about 2 am the Milky Way at the Zenith. The Moon affects a little with 73% illumination. At 2.44 am and Iridium flare in the North West at altitude 31° in the constellation of Hercules.
Wednesday 5 August
Today it would be Neil Armstrong's 85th Birthday; born in 1930. Neil died on 25 August 2012 at the age of 82. He was the first man to walk on the Moon.
Not visible, at 9.52 am Mercury in conjunction in Right Ascension with Venus. Mercury is 8.2° separated from the center of Venus. An Iridium flare at 9.41 pm in the North East at altitude 78° in the constellation of Draco. The International Space Station (ISS) appears at 10.05 pm in the West South West. Culmination at 10.10 pm in the South South East at 54°. ISS disappears at 10.15 pm in the East.
After 11 pm it is best to observe deep sky or dim objects. ISS appears once more at 11.41 pm in the West. Culmination at 11.47 pm in the South at 63° and disappears nearly straight away at 11.47 pm in the South East at 55°. Another short pass of ISS at 1.18 am in the West and disappears after 2 minutes at 1.20 am also in the West at 9°. Look for the Milky Way just before 2 am. The Moon is 62% illuminated though.
Get in touch with me via www.patrickpoitevin.weebly.com if you need more information.
When the Moon goes … big and … blue …
On Friday 31 July it is Full Moon. Not that strange … Well, we had already a Full Moon earlier in July. So, two Full Moons in one month is called a Blue Moon. In fact, there are two definitions for Blue Moon:
The third Full Moon in an astronomical season with 4 Full Moons
The second Full Moon in a month with two Full Moons
Why do we have two different expressions for Blue Moon? The second definition is more or less “a mistake”. The amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955) published in the American magazine Sky and Telescope in 1946 an article. He made a miscalculation, and claimed that any second Full Moon in a calendar month is called a Blue Moon. His mistake was spread worldwide, possibly because his definition was much simpler than the original one. It is now so commonly used that it would only be fair to call it a second definition, rather than a mistake.
The original definition is that a Blue Moon is the third Full Moon in an astronomical season with four Full Moons. A normal year has four astronomical seasons - spring, summer, autumn, and winter - with three months and normally three Full Moons each. When one of the astronomical seasons has four Full Moons, instead of the normal three, the third Full Moon is called a Blue Moon.
How strange or how rare is a Blue Moon?
The next Blue Moon with the first definition: Third Full Moon in a season with 4
21 May, 2016
18 May, 2019
22 August, 2021
19 August, 2024
The next Blue Moon with the second definition: A second Full Moon in a month:
31 July 2015
31 January 2018
31 March 2018
31 October 2020
Can the Moon be Blue - a blue colored Moon? Astronomical Blue Moons happen either once every two to three years or so, depending on which of the two definitions you apply. A Moon that actually looks blue, however, is a very rare sight. The Moon, full or any other phase, can appear blue when the atmosphere is filled with dust or smoke particles of a certain size; slightly wider than 0.7 micron. For example after a dust storm or a volcanic eruption. Eruptions like on Mt. Krakatoa, Indonesia in 1883, El Chichon, Mexico in 1983, Mt. St. Helens in 1980, and Mount Pinatubo in 1991 are all known to have caused Blue Moons.
And what about Red Moons? Red Moons, which can be caused by other sizes of dust particles or by Total Lunar Eclipses, are much more common than Blue Moons.
Facts and myths ..
Over the next 20 years there will be about 15 Blue Moons with an almost equal number of both types of Blue Moons occurring. No Blue Moon of any kind will occur in the years 2011, 2014, and 2017.
The last Blue Moon to be the second Full Moon in a calendar month occurred on 31 August 2012.
The last Blue Moon when there are four Full Moons in a season occurred on 21 August 2013.
Two Full Moons in one month may occur in any month out of the year except for February, which is shorter than the lunar cycle. February is usually 28 days long, and the average span between Full Moons is 29.5 days.
Blue Moons as the "original" version, according to the seasons, can only occur in February, May, August, or November, about a month before the equinox or the solstice.
The rare phenomenon of two Blue Moons (using the more recent definition) occurring in the same year happens approximately once every 19 years. 1999 was the last time a Blue Moon appeared twice, in January and March.
From the Oxford English Dictionary, the first reference to a Blue Moon comes from a proverb recorded in 1528: If they say the Moon is blue, We must believe that it is true.
Saying the Moon was blue was equivalent to saying the Moon was made of green (or cream) cheese; it indicated an obvious absurdity.
In the 19th century, the phrase until a Blue Moon developed, meaning "never."
The phrase, once in a Blue Moon today has come to mean "every now and then" or "rarely".
And ... a Super Blue Moon?
A Super Moon happens when there's a Full Moon or a New Moon at the same time as the Moon's closest approach to the Earth, called perigee. It's also known as Super Full Moon, Super New Moon and Perigee Moon. When a Full Moon occurs within 90% of the Moon’s closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, it is called a Super Moon. The Full Moon then appears especially big and bright since it subtends its largest apparent diameter as seen from Earth.
Super Moons for 2015
Full Moon (UT) Distance (Km) Diameter arc min) Relative Distance
Jul 31 10:43 365112 32.73 0.930
Aug 29 18:35 358993 33.29 0.985
Sep 28 02:50 t 356878 m 33.48 1.000
Oct 27 12:05 359324 33.26 0.982
Nov 25 22:44 366149 32.64 0.921
Relative distance listed in the Super Moon table above expresses the Moon’s distance as a fraction between apogee (0.0) and perigee (1.0).
By some other definition, the New Moon or Full Moon has to come within 224834 miles or 361836 kilometers of our planet, as measured from the centers of the Moon and Earth, in order to be considered a Super Moon.
The closest full Super Moon will be in 28 September 2015.
When the Full Moon or New Moon coincides with being closest to Earth, or perigee, it is called a Super Moon. When the Moon is at the opposite end, farthest from Earth, or apogee, it's called a Micro Moon.
The technical term for a Super Moon is “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system”. In astronomy, the term “syzygy” refers to the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies.
Are we “feeling” the Super Blue Moon of 31 July 2015?
The Sun and the Moon’s alignment cause a small increase in tectonic activity. The effects of the Super Moon on Earth are very minor though. Many studies have been done by scientists. They did not found anything significant that can link the Super Moon to natural disasters. The combination of the Moon being at its closest and at Full Moon should not affect the internal energy balance of the Earth since there are lunar tides every day. There is a small difference in tidal forces exerted by the Moon’s gravitational pull at lunar perigee. However, the difference is too small to overcome the larger forces within the planet.
Let us know what you felt!