Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 22:49:13 Posted by  Bobby

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 The Night Skies of July

 This is the best time for northern observers to see the rich southern constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. The center of our Galaxy is in Sagittarius, so the Milky Way star fields are particularly dense in this region. For southern observers these constellations are almost overhead and dominate the scene.

 Top 2 Constellations For July

 Scorpius (The Scorpion)


 Mythology of Scorpius

Scorpius is a constellation of the zodiac, it lies between Libra and Sagittarius. It depicts the scorpion that, in Greek mythology, killed Orion with its sting - fittingly, Orion sets as Scorpius rises. The constellation lies in a rich part of the Milky Way, in the same direction as the center of our galaxy. The Sun passes through it briefly from November 23rd to the 29th. The old version of its name, Scorpio, is only used in astrology.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Scorpion
  • Pronounced: SCOR-pee-us
  • Genitive: Scorpii
  • Abbreviation: Sco
  • Highest in the Sky: June to July
  • Size Ranking: 33rd
  • Coverage Area: 497 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 17 hours
  • Declination: -40°
  • Visibility: 42°N to 90°S

 Notable Objects

  • Alpha Scorpii: Star
  • M4: Globular cluster
  • M6: Butterfly Cluster
  • M7: Ptolemy Open Cluster
  • M80: Globular cluster
  • NGC 6144: Globular cluster
  • NGC 6231: Open cluster
  • NGC 6302: Butterfly Nebula
  • NGC 6337: Planetary nebula
  • NGC 6441: Globular cluster

 Named Stars

  • Antares, Alpha Scorpii
  • Graffias, Beta Scorpii
  • Dschubba, Delta Scorpii
  • Sargas, Theta Scorpii
  • Shaula, Lambda Scorpii
  • Jabbah, Nu Scorpii
  • Lesath, Upsilon Scorpii

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Alpha Scorpii (Antares)

 A red supergiant of variable brightness ranging between magnitudes 0.9 and 1.2 in a cycle lasting around 4-5 years. It has a close blue-white companion of 5th magnitude that orbits it every 1,200 years or so and can be seen with a telescope of moderate aperture. The name Antares is usually translated as "rival of Mars," referring to its reddish color, although it can also mean "like Mars."

Beta Scorpii

 A double star with components of magnitude 2.6 and 4.9 that are easy to separate with a small telescope. The two stars are unrelated, lying at distances of 530 and 1,100 light-years.

Zeta Scorpii

 A wide pair of unrelated stars divisible with the naked eye by those with good eyesight. Zeta-1 is a blue-white supergiant of magnitude 4.7, the brightest star in the cluster NGC 6231. Zeta-2, a red giant of magnitude 3.6, is much closer at a 150 light-years away.

Mu Scorpii

 A double star that can be divided with the naked eye. The brighter component is an eclipsing binary that varies between magnitudes 2.9 and 3.2 every 1 day and 10 hours. Its companion is of magnitude 3.6.

Nu Scorpii

 A multiple star. A small telescope, or good binoculars, will reveal an optical double with components of magnitudes 4.0 and 6.3. The fainter star of the pair has an 8th-magnitude companion that can be seen through a telescop with an aperture of 3 in (75 mm). Larger apertures - 4 in (100 mm) or more - show that the brighter star has an even closer companion of 5th magnitude. Hence Nu Scorpii is an apparent quadruple.

Xi Scorpii

 A multiple star. Like Nu Scorpii, this is a quadruple. A small telescope reveals a pair of 5th- and 7th-magnitude stars; in the same field of view, a wider pair of 7th- and 8th-magnitude stars can also be seen.

Omega Scorpii

 A naked-eye double star with components of magnitudes 3.9 and 4.3, 420 and 260 light-years away.


 One of the closest globular clusters to us, about 7,000 light-years away. It is visible with binoculars or a small telescope, but a dark sky is needed as its light is spread over a large area the-thirds the apparent size of the moon.


 An open cluster, 1,600 light-years away. It is visible to the naked eye, and its individual stars can be seen with binoculars. Its brightest star in BM Scorpii, an orange giant that varies between 5th and 7th magnitudes.


 A large, glorious open cluster, visible to the naked eye and binoculars and more than twice the apparent width of the full Moon. Its brightest stars, of 6th magnitude, are seen against a bright Milky Way background. The cluster is 950 light-years away.

NGC 6231

 A prominent open cluster, 5,900 light-years away. Its individual stars are easy to see with binoculars or a small telescope. The 5th-magnitude star Zeta-1 Scorpii is its brightest member.

 Aquila (The Eagle)


 Mythology of Aquila

Aquila lies on the celestial equator and represents the eagle that carried away the thunderbolts of the Greek god Zeus. The Milky Way passes through the constellation, and there are dense star fields toward the border with Scutum; the brightest part is an area known as the Scutum Star Cloud.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Eagle
  • Pronounced: ak-WILL-ah
  • Genitive: Aquilae
  • Abbreviation: Aql
  • Highest in the Sky: July to August
  • Size Ranking: 22nd
  • Coverage Area: 652 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 20 Hours
  • Declination:
  • Visibility: 80°N to 70°S

 Notable Objects

  • Eta Aquilae: Cepheid Variable Star
  • The Great Rift: Molecular Dust Cloud
  • NGC 6709: Open Cluster
  • NGC 6751: Planetary Nebula
  • NGC 6755: Open Cluster
  • NGC 6760: Globular Cluster
  • NGC 6772: Planetary Nebula
  • NGC 6803: Planetary Nebula
  • NGC 6804: Planetary Nebula

 Named Stars

  • Altair, Alpha Aquilae
  • Alshain, Beta Aquilae
  • Tarazed, Gamma Aquilae
  • Deneb Okab, Delta Aquilae

Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Alpha Aquilae (Altair)

 Among the 20 brightest stars in the sky, at magnitude 0.8, and also one of the closest first magnitude stars to us, only 17 light-years away. It marks the neck of the eagle and forms one corner of the Summer Triangle, completed by Deneb (in Cygnus) and Vega (in Lyra). Altair is flanked by two stars, the 4th-magnitude Beta Aquilae (also known as Alshain) and 3rd-magnitude Gamma Aquilae (or Tarazed).

Eta Aquilae

  A Cepheid variable star, one of the brightest in this important class. Its magnitude varies 3.5 to 4.4 in a cycle lasting 7 days 4 hours, and the changes can be followed with the naked eye or through binoculars. It is a supergiant star, estimated to lie about 1,200 light-years away.

 Features of Interest (June/July)

 Antares (Scorpious)

 Also known as Alpha Scorpii, this is one of the largest stars visible to the naked eye. It is a red supergiant, around 500 times larger than the Sun. If it were placed where our Sun is, it would engulf the orbit of Mars.

 Epsilon Lyrae

 Near the bright star Vega lies this remarkable multiple star. Binoculars, or even sharp eyesight, show that it is double. Through a telescope, each of these stars is itself seen to be a close double, hence this star's popular name the Double Double.

 M22 (Globular cluster

 This globular cluster, which lies near the lid of the Teapot in Sagittarius, is rated the third best of its kind in the sky, after Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae. It can be seen as a hazy star with the naked eye, and is easy to find with binoculars.

 The Galactic Center

 From southern latitudes on July evenings, the center of our Galaxy lies overhead, among dense Milky Way star fields in Sagittarius. Eight stars in Sagittarius form a shape known as the Teapot.

 M8 (Lagoon Nebula)

 This diffuse nebula is visible to the naked eye in rural skies and is easy to find with binoculars. It is elongated in shape and is also called the Lagoon Nebula, the lagoon being a dark lane of dust that crosses its center. M8 contains NGC 6530, a cluster visible through binoculars.

 Meteor Shower Activity

July Meteor Showers

 Also Visible This Month

 Where to?

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