Full 'Buck Moon' on 4th of JulyPress Release
The month of July begins with a “Buck Moon Eclipse", and shortly after the faint sight it’s all about the planets including the solar system’s two gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn as both planets reach complete opposition this month.
Shortly after, a 'two-for-one' meteor shower can be seen including sparkling summer constellations with a chance to see the Milky Way Galaxy.
Here’s what not to miss in the night sky for the month of July 2020:
- Sight #1: ‘Buck Moon Eclipse’ - July 4th & 5th, 2020 - This sight is visible throughout the entirety of North America, this penumbral lunar eclipse is sure to be quite the sight. Scheduled to peak at 4:29 UTC, which is 00:29 a.m. EDT on July 5 and 9:29 p.m. PDT on July 4. However, an arguably more impressive feature will be the rise of the “Buck Moon.” Observers should look to the slither of the full Moon where about a third of it will appear to be slightly dimmer for a few hours as it passes through Earth’s outer, shadow in space also known as our planet’s penumbra.
- Sight #2: Jupiter and Saturn at Opposition - July 14 & July 20, 2020 - As Jupiter rotates closer to the Earth it will be fully illuminated by the Sun, and the Solar System’s largest planet will be illuminated at its brightest on July 14. It's scheduled to rise at dusk and set at dawn, with the capability to see some of Jupiter's largest moons including Lo, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They’re typically easy targets to spot! Nearly a week later Saturn will look it's best on July 20, though you’ll undoubtedly need a small telescope in order to catch a small glimpse it's rings. It's scheduled to rise at dusk and set at dawn with the capability to spot Titan, the ringed planet's largest moon. Observers should note that although these specific dates are technically when the planets are assumed to be at their very brightest, both planets will look their best throughout the entirety of the month July.
Sight #3: 'Delta Aquarids' meteor shower - July 28&29, 2020 - Observers should expect to see roughly 20 or so “shooting stars” per hour shortly after midnight on July 29, as debris from a nearby comet tail punctures Earth’s atmosphere. Look for the constellation of Aquarius for shooting stars falling from the Delta Aquarids, which are known for producing relatively bright “fireballs" of light.
Also, a smaller meteor shower namely 'Alpha Capricornids' is scheduled to peak this evening, with the possibly of adding a few more shooting stars to the night sky. Be on the lookout outside after midnight on July 29, for the best chance to catch this amazing experience!
Sight #4: Milky Way Galaxy, Sagittarius, and Scorpius - July (13-22) -
The Milky Way Galaxy will be easily visible in July, observers should wait until midnight for optimal lighting from a dark sky. Look between the Last Quarter Moon on July 13 and on through for a few days after the July 20 New Moon for optimal viewing in the midnight moonless skies.
Observers living below the 50° north tangent will get their chance to catch a glimpse of the vast star fields of Sagittarius and Scorpius, with the latter’s orange star 'Antares', AKA the "Rival of Mars".
This region, also known as the 'Galactic Center', is the busiest and most active region of the night sky as countless stars, clusters, and nebula illuminate the night skies.
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