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Night skis: July – when the Earth is furthest from the sun

Martin Lunn, from the Earby Astronomical Society, tells us what to look for in the skis in July.

THIS is the month when the Earth is furthest from the sun. Mars will be closest to us. The summer triangle is now at all and there is a lunar eclipse.

Mars will be closest since 2003, which was the year when the Earth and Mars were the closest they had been for 60,000 years. This month it will be a bit further away at 35.7 million miles. Mars will appear like a bright red spot in the south and will be hard to miss, be so bright in the sky that it will even boast Jupiter. It's not hard to see why people who lived thousands of years ago called it War God.

Astronomers who use telescopes are always waiting for these close meetings so they can try to see more on Mars on the surface. The major problem they face is that when Mars gets closer to the sun, the heat causes massive dust storms on the red planet, making large parts of the planet invisible. This is just the moment when NASA's Opportunity Rover is in the middle of one of these great storms. There is great concern among researchers that the storm will blow dust on the solar panels, which may cause Opportunity batteries to go flat and complete the mission. This is an opportunity, but remember that when Opportunity landed in January 2004, it was planned to have a 90-day mission time, and 1

4 years will still be.

After Christmas's long days, the nights in July are slower darker, but it will not notice until the end of the month. The Summer Triangle stars of Vega, Deneb and Altair are now the best.

Looking directly above is the bright star you see, Vega, in the constellation Lyra the Lyre, which is a small but distinct constellation. Look to the left of Vega and you will see the star Epsilon Lyrae, the famous double star. Common sins on a clear night should see that the star consists of two stars side by side. In a telescope, each of the components is a double star, so we can refer it to a "double double" or quadruple star.

The rest of Lyra consists of a square of stars with Beta, at the bottom right of the quadrant, as a variable star discovered to vary by deaf astronomer John Goodricke in York in 1784.

Deneb is the brightest star in the Cygnus swan, sometimes known as the Northern Cross. The stars are spread over a much larger area and are fewer than in Lyra, but once you've found Cygnus, it will be easily recognized in the future. It is in the milky way so there are many stars to see in this part of the sky and through binoculars you can see countless more stars. At the end of the cross form, the star is Beta Cygni or Albireo. Looking through binoculars or a small telescope, it seems to be one of the most radiant double stars, consisting of a blue star and a yellow star.

The third member of the summer triangle is the southernmost; Altair, in the constellation of Aquila Eagle. The constellation gives the small look of an eagle in the sky. It has, as Vega, a connection to York, because the star Eta is variable and was discovered by Edward Pigott, who worked in York with John Goodricke.

Both Beta Lyrae and Eta Aquilae were discovered on September 12, 1784, one night I often refer to as a "night to remember" in the field of astronomy. In fact, Goodricke and Pigott have contributed so much to variable star astronym in a short period of time as they worked together from 1781 to 1786, which I refer to as "the fathers of variable star stars".

The summer triumph shows us that appearances can be misleading. When we look at the three stars that make up the triangle, Vega seems very brightest, Altair and Deneb seem significantly fewer, but when we consider how far away they are a different picture. Altair is only 17 light years away, weighing a slightly distant 25 light years, but Deneb, which seems weakest, is 2,500 light years away. That means that if they were all placed the same distance from the ground, Deneb would massively brag the other two stars.

Another light star seen in the summer months, this time very low in the south, is Antares in Scorpius constellation, sometimes known as Mars's rival because of its color. Unfortunately, since Antares is so low in the sky as seen from Britain, it never rises high in the sky. To see it in the best way you would need to be in the Mediterranean. It is a red super giant and actually so great that the paths in the four planets closest to the sun; Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, would comfortably fit inside Antares.

Currently, due to its proximity to us, Mars looks much brighter than its "rival" Antares in the southern hemisphere. Apart from Antares, the rest of the southern heaven consists of large weak groups of stars.

In view of the more familiar groups of stars in the sky, the Plow is still high in the northwest, which means that Cassiopeia's "W" has now become a bit higher in the northeast.

The planets in July

I have already stated that Mars will be very noticeable in the southeastern sky from 11.00 am onwards. In the southwest is the bright white point that you see in heaven Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. Jupiter has been visible on the night sky for most of the year but now starts to appear something in the sky in the southwest. Jupiter will still be visible throughout July but will be much lower in the sky, especially when we approach the end of the summer months. Located between Jupiter and Mars is the famous ring Planet Saturn that appears like a dirty yellow light "star" lay in heaven.

Just as the sun sets, looks low to the west and you will see the brightest planet in the night sky: Venus or "evening star" as it is sometimes called. The other clear eye planet, Merkurius, is very close to the horizon this month so you will not see it.

Meteor Shower

The only meteor shower this month is Delta Aquarids, these meteors or shooting stars, as some call them are the remains of the comet Macholz. The maximum amount of the shower will be on the night of July 30 when normally about 15 meteors per hour can be seen, but this year, with the highest being close to full moon, the sky will be light which makes it harder to see these meteors.

Moon's horror for July

Last quarter 6; New Moon 13; First quarter 19; Full moon 27.

There will be an eclipse of the moon in the evening of the 27th. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into the earth's shadow. The moon does not have its own light, but we see it because it reflects sunlight that hits it. We can say that the moonlight is only reflected in sunlight. When the moon passes into the shade, direct sunlight is cut off, but the light still reaches the moon by passing through the earth's atmosphere and bending, or "breaking" on the Moon's surface. Earth's atmosphere will block from the blue light so that most of the light that reaches the Moon turns red, so the moon becomes red red, or, as some call it a "blood moon".

Eclipse will begin when the moon is still below the horizon from Britain. When the moon rises in the southeastern sky at 8.47, it will already be in eclipse and will turn reddish and rather dark because it is so low in the sky. The eclipse ends at 10.13 when the moon is still low in the sky.

The full moon in July is known as Thunder Moon because this is the month of the year when we are likely to get thunder.

On July 6th, the earth will be at Aphelion, or furthest from the sun on its annual road when it will be 95 million miles from the sun. We are at Perihelion, or nearest point on the sun, in January when the earth is about 91 million miles away. It's the slope of the earth that determines what season we are in, rather than our distance from the sun. In July the Northern Hemisphere is leaning against the sun, so we have summer, while in January the Northern Hemisphere halves and we experience winter.

Earby Astronomical Society will take its summer break from meetings now, meaning that the next meeting will be Friday, September 29th in the All Saints Church, Earby, from 19:30 to 21:00. The speaker will be Martin Lunn MBE FRAS, the Earby Astronomical Society, and the title of the call will be "The Autumn Sky". Everyone is welcome.

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