Stargazing events of interest for July 2015

Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in July 2015. Mark your calendars.

July comes from the Latin word Julius. Originally the Roman month for July was Quintilis. It was renamed to Julius after Julius Caesar, his birth month, shortly before his death. 
This month we have two full moons. The first full moon is most commonly known as the Summer Moon. It is also known as the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, and Mead Moon. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water and is related to June’s Honey Moon. If you care to make some you can go here. To the Lakota Sioux it was known as the Moon when Cherries are Ripe. The Pima called it Moon of Giant Cactus. The Haida call it the Killer Whale Moon.
By the modern definition, the second full moon that occurs within a calendar month is a Blue Moon. Therefore the full moon on July 31 is called a Blue Moon. The original definition was the fourth full moon within a season. Why and how did it change? If you are into full moons you will find this article of interest.
•    Full Moon: July 1 (Summer Moon)
•    Closest to Earth: July 5 (228,101 miles super-size Moon) 
•    Last Quarter Moon: July 8 
•    New Moon:  July 15        
•    Farthest from Earth: July 21 (251,553 miles mini Moon, most distant this year) 
•    First Quarter Moon: July 24
•    Full Moon: July 31 (Blue Moon)

Planets visible early evening after sunset:
•    Jupiter and Venus: At the beginning of the month the two will be very close together. Look west after sunset. The separation between the two will noticeably increase until the planets set around mid-month. Both planets are in the constellation Leo.
•    Saturn: The planet will in the south in the evening all month. The star to the lower left of the planet in Antares in the constellation Scorpius. The bright star to the far right of Saturn is Spica in the constellation Virgo. Saturn is in the constellation Libra.

Planets visible morning before sunrise:
•    Mercury: Look low on the eastern horizon between July 1 and July 10. Seeing Mercury is always difficult being so close to the Sun. Mercury is in the constellation Taurus and is best observed around 4:15am. 
•    Mars is behind the Sun

•    July 1: Sunrise 5:34am MDT, Sunset 8:31pm MDT
•    July 21: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Cancer
•    July 22: The Sun enters the astrological sign Leo
•    July 31: Sunrise 5:56am MDT, Sunset 8:14pm MDT

•    July 2: Midyear
•    July 6: Earth is farthest from the Sun (94.5 million miles). 
•    July 30: Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower. Conditions are not favorable for viewing with a bright near full moon.                                                     

Special Events:
•    July 1 – 20: Early evening looking west low on the horizon. Venus and Jupiter will be moving away from each other. After the 20th sunset glare will begin to affect visibility.  
•    July 12 early morning before Sunrise The Moon will be next to the bright star Aldebaran the brightest star in Taurus.
•    July 14: After a 9 year 3.5 billion mile journey New Horizons arrives at Pluto.  
•    July 18: Early evening after sunset a thin crescent moon will be in a group with Venus (closest to the Moon) and Jupiter.
•    July 22-23: The Moon will be next the star Spica, the brightest star in Virgo.
•    July 25: The Moon will to the right of Saturn. Both are in the constellation Libra.
•    July 25: The Chamberlin Observatory will have an open house, weather permitting, starting at 8:30pm.The observatory’s 20” telescope and telescopes belonging to members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be available for viewing. Click here for more information.  
•    July 26: The Moon will be to the left of Saturn and above Antares a red giant. It is so big both the Earth and Mars would orbit inside of it. 

Historical Trivia:
•    June 26, 1730: Charles Messier is born. He was a comet hunter who is more famous for his list of 109 of non-comets than the comets he discovered. That list, called m-objects, contains the most spectacular objects to be viewed in a telescope. 
•    July 4, 1997: Mars Pathfinder and its rover Sojourner reach Mars. The Sojourner rover successfully landed on the surface. 

Wishing you clear skies

The Star Spangled Radio Hour

KEZW and our friends at the Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado present the Star Spanged Radio Hour, Saturday night at 6pm.  Rick and Dennis Spragg introduce live big band radio broadcasts from the 30s and 40s that haven't been heard since they originally aired.  It's our time capsule from the big band era and you can only hear it on AM 1430!  Miss a show?  Click here.

Rick's Thought for the Day


Thought 7.7.15

"If you’re still searching for that one person who will change your life, look in the mirror"