Friday, July 28 – Observing Planets and Stars
On Friday, July 28, the solar system offers plenty to observe. Mercury passes just south of Regulus, making it a great opportunity to spot both in the same binocular or telescopic field of view. Venus, Mercury, and Mars are visible, with Venus being the brightest at magnitude -4.5. Regulus, a B-type star, is relatively close at 79 light-years away, marking the heart of Leo the Lion.
Saturday, July 29 – Observing the Double Star Albireo
On Saturday, July 29, Albireo, a prominent double star, is easy to spot by the naked eye but can be split into a brilliantly colored pair of suns with a low-power telescope. The brighter primary is orange-yellow, while the fainter companion is blue-white and much hotter.
Sunday, July 30 – Observing the Southern Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower
On Sunday, July 30, the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks but the brightening Moon makes spotting shower meteors a challenge. The radiant is some 25 degrees above the southwestern horizon, halfway between the star 3rd-magnitude Skat and the similarly bright star Deneb Algedi in eastern Capricornus.
Monday, July 31 – Observing Saturn and Its Moons
On Monday, July 31, Saturn is visible through a telescope, with its rings and several moons arrayed around it. The brightest satellite is Titan to the southwest, followed by Rhea and Tethys just west of the rings. Fainter moons are also visible but can be more challenging to see.
Tuesday, August 1 – Observing the Full Super Moon
On Tuesday, August 1, a Full Super Moon occurs at 2:32 P.M. EDT. The Moon will appear larger and brighter than usual, making it a great time to observe our natural satellite.
Wednesday, August 2 – Observing the Planets and Stars
On Wednesday, August 2, the sky offers a chance to observe Jupiter and the Moon, with the gas giant appearing about 4 degrees to the left of our natural satellite.
Thursday, August 3 – Observing the Summer Triangle
On Thursday, August 3, the Summer Triangle, made up of the bright stars Vega, Altair, and Deneb, is visible in the eastern sky after sunset.
Tips for Observing the Sky
To make the most of observing the sky, here are some tips:
- Find a dark location away from city lights for better visibility.
- Use a telescope or binoculars to enhance your viewing experience.
- Bring a star chart or astronomy app to help identify celestial objects.
- Dress warmly and comfortably for extended periods of observation.
- Be patient and take your time to adjust your eyes to the dark.
- Stay up-to-date with upcoming celestial events with an astronomy calendar or newsletter.
In conclusion, observing the sky from July 28 to August 4, 2023, offers a fantastic opportunity to explore celestial wonders like planets, stars, and meteor showers. With a few practical tips and advice, you can make the most of this week’s opportunities, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced astronomer. Remember to find a dark location, use a telescope or binoculars, and be patient while adjusting your eyes to the dark. Happy observing!