Hopefully during this month we will have some nice, dry weather for stargazing and warmer evenings to do it with! As July have longer days, you will be well into the night before you will get to see anything in the night sky. However, this just means an excuse for a date night with your special someone, a friend, or alone with a blanket and a hot drink in a perfect spot. Perfect spots include areas that are outside of the town, in the countryside, away from any sort of light pollution you can see. Always give your eyes around 20 minutes or so to adapt to the dark, this even means no phones..
We are going to start off with the Perseids meteor shower! This meteor shower begins on July 17th through to August 24th. The Perseids is one of the brightest meteor showers to happen during the year. The peak, however of this shower won’t be until 9th – 13th August but we will still be able to see plenty in July. This meteor shower is made of tiny space particles that comes from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus. You will be able to spot 60 – 100 meteors per hour whenever this shower is at its peak!
The Full Moon in July is known as the ‘Buck Moon’. This nickname is due to male deer, or bucks, shed and regrow their antlers each year, they produce a larger and more impressive set as the years go by. The Full Moon will peak early on the 3rd July and the New Moon phase will begin again on the 17th July, which is perfect for stargazing, and spotting the Perseids meteor shower, as the skies will be very dark, and hopefully clear!
You will be able to spot Hercules, named after the hero from Greek mythology, in the sky during the Summer. Hercules was one of the original 48 constellations and was catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
Hercules is the fifth largest constellation in the sky. You will be able to notice his asterism, the keystone (or less fancy, the flower pot) made up of four bright stars named Pi, Eta, Zeta and Epsilon Herculis, this marks his torso and he is standing victoriously on Draco’s Head.
In mythology, Hercules is associated with the penultimate labour of Heracles, which involved defeating a dragon called Ladon, who guarded the garden of the Hesperides. The dragon in this story is represented by the constellation of Draco the Dragon.
Deep Sky Objects in Constellation Hercules
Hercules is known for two globular-shaped star clusters, called M13 and M92. These clusters are easily spotted with the naked eye, but they do just look like a fuzzy area in the sky, so we would recommend (if you’re lucky) a telescope, or binoculars for a clearer view. These clusters are popular amongst astronomers, who are studying them using large observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope.
The M13 cluster is one of the brightest star clusters visible from the Northern Hemisphere, it has over 100,000 stars within and it’s located about 25,000 light years away from Earth.
These are some items you can spot during July, if you see anything else please let us know!