The Sky This Month
July to September 2008

Partial Eclipse of the Sun August 1st, begins 0932, Max 1016, ends 1102 BST.
Partial Eclipse of the Moon August 16th, begins 2036 (alt +5, az 116), ends 2343 (alt+22, az157)

Meteor Showers
Perseids: Aug 11/12 and Aug 12/13

Comet C/2007 W1 Boattini which is featured in the magazines Sky at Night and AN, is plotted here passing through Aries. It is a long period comet reported to be about magnitude 8 and fading. Aries is rising in the East at about 11pm.

Star Charts for mid August: click the pictures to see more detail chart

August at 2200 BST August at 0200 BST
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Milky Way
The region of sky rising up from the South from Sagittarius and Scorpio, passing up through Aquila the Eagle and finally overhead through Signus the Swan; is an area of the summer evening sky that is filled with stars and star clouds - the Milky Way. What we are seeing is brightest portion of our own Galaxy seen edge on. The rich star fields are rendered more dramatic when contrasted by bright and dark nebulae, or the dust clouds that form the central galactic rift running through Cygnus, such as can be seen in these photographs from the gallery: Cygnus by Martin Andrews

How far away is the Milky Way?

The star clouds we see are between 10 and 15 thousand light years away. It is about 40 thousand lyrs to the center of the Galaxy.

The bright star Deneb in the tail of the Swan is 1500 light years away, Click on the image to see.

What else can I see ?
One of the pleasures of a warm dry summer evening, is to get out a lounger and scan the sky with a pair of binoculars. The star patterns are breathe taking. Later in the night we see Cassiopeia and Perseus.

Moon in July, August and September. Click on the charts to see it full scale
Charts generated by Richard Fleet's GraphDark programme

Planets Rise and Set

How to read the planet chart above:
Following a vertical line like the one drawn for August 11th, gives the times of events for that night e.g.

Sunset is at 2030 BST
Pink yellow blue and red lines are the setting of planets in the early evening.
White stripes indicate the Moon is above the horizon.

At the black line, astronomical darkness begins (Sun is below -18 degrees)
At 0100 Moon sets

At 0200 Jupiter sets (green line)
At 0300 twilight begins
At 0530 Sun rises

Updated July20, 2008



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