The Sky of Alexandria during the Month of July 2017
01 July 2017

Prepared by: Dr. Omar Fikry

The summer night sky has appeared with the well-known and easily identifiable Summer Triangle asterism shining above us and dancing with Jupiter and Saturn, as the moon emerges and adds a unique air of beauty to their splendor.

As usual, we strive to highlight the most important astronomical phenomena and sights in our sky; we define and draw attention to them. Despite the scarcity of its astronomical phenomena, the night sky during the month of July attracts onlookers fleeing daytime heat, as observers escape to open spaces to spend their astronomical nights observing constellations and planets. So let’s learn more about said events.

Monday Night, 3 July 2017

The almost gibbous-shaped moon, during its first quarter moon phase, will be located between Jupiter and Saturn, with the former planet to its right and the latter to its left. This scenic alignment will have two well-known bright stars above it, namely Arcturus and Vega.

• The moon will be 398,441 km away from Earth. At 9:00 pm on Monday, 3 July 2017, the moon will be nine days and nine hours old.
• Located to the moon’s right, Jupiter—the largest planet in the Solar System—will be clearly visible to the naked eye. The planet will be 796 million km away from Earth, and the four Galilean moons—Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede—will be visible through any small telescope.
• Saturn, the jewel of the Solar System, will be to the moon’s left. It will be 1,360 million km away, and we will be able to see its rings through the telescope.
• Arcturus—“Guardian of the Bear”—is the brightest star in the constellation of Boötes. It is an orange-colored binary star with a surface temperature of approximately 4,530 degrees. If Arcturus and the Sun were to be located at the same distance, the former would be 93 times brighter than the latter.
• Vega—an-nasr al-wāqi‘ or “The Falling Eagle”—is the first star in the Summer Triangle asterism, which will be the companion and guest of the summer night sky observers. Vega is a star in the constellation of Lyra and is 25 light-years from Earth. Together with the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Arcturus, and the stars of Scorpius, it creates a magnificent astronomical panorama that remains observable throughout July. The only variable in said panorama will be the moon’s position, which will change each night.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

This day, which corresponds with 29 Shawwal, will witness the birth of the new moon of the month of Dhū al-Qidah 1438 at 11:46 pm (EET). The new moon can be observed after sunset, which means that Shawwal will end on Sunday, 23 July 2017 and Dhū al-Qidah will begin on Monday, 24 July 2017.

Saturday and Sunday, 29 and 30 July 2017

Both days are the perfect timing for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the Aquarius constellation meteor shower (the Delta Aquariid meteor shower). As we have mentioned before, meteor showers occur when Earth passes through debris left over from the disintegration of comets. The comet that will cause the Delta Aquariid meteor shower on the aforementioned dates is of the Marsden and Kracht Groups of Sunskirting Comets.

Observers will be able to sight 20–25 meteors per hour with the naked eye. The moon will be small in size and will set earlier than usual, leaving us with a clear night sky for astronomical observation.

Source of images: The NASA Education website, compiled and Arabized by Stellarium (software).

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