Astronomy Events In July 2019

Just after the summer solstice on June 21, the days have started getting shorter in the northern hemisphere and longer in the southern. The Sun has started moving south. Let us have a look at the Astronomy events in July 2019.

July 2: Moon At Perihelion

In its monthly orbit around the Earth, the Moon will be the closest to the Sun on June 2. It will be at a distance of 1.0143 AU (Astronomical Unit) from the Sun. That is approximately 151,737,100 Km from the Sun. The 28 days old Moon will be in Gemini at perihelion.

July 2: Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse will take place on July 2, beginning at 16:20 GMT (21:50 IST). The eclipse will last for approximately 6 hours and will end on July 3 at 22:18 GMT(03:48 IST). It will be visible from South America and Pitcairn. The map below shows the parts of the world where the eclipse will be visible, which are highlighted within the red contour. The yellow contours show the maximum extent of the eclipse, where the Moon appears to cover 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% of the Sun. As seen from any given location, this total eclipse will last for a maximum of 4 minutes. This eclipse is one of the most important Astronomy events in July 2019

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The map of July 2 total solar eclipse. (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

July 3: Earth At Aphelion

On July 3, our planet will be at its furthest point from the Sun in its orbit. The distance between the two will be 1.02 AU. The Earth's distance from the Sun varies by around 3% over the course of the year because its orbit is slightly oval-shaped, following a path called an ellipse. In practice, this variation is rather slight, however, because the Earth's orbit is very nearly circular.

July 8: Capricornid Meteor Shower

A meteor shower

The capricornids will reach its peak activity on July 8. The maximum rate of this shower will be 5 meteors per hour. This assumes, however, dark skies. The Moon will be 6 days old and hence the sky will be naturally dark.

July 9: Saturn At Opposition

Of all the Astronomical events in July 2019, this one is the best. The lord of the rings will make its closest approach to Earth. Saturn will be shining bright in Sagittarius and will be up all night. At the opposition, the Sun, the Earth and the planet lie in a straight line, with Earth in the middle. This optimal positioning occurs when Saturn is almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky. Since the Sun reaches its greatest distance below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite to it is highest in the sky at the same time.

Saturn at opposition July 2019
The Saturn at Opposition on the night of July 9. (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

In this position, Saturn will shine at mag 0.1 and will be at a distance of 9.03 AU. It will be 18.4" wide in diameter. Saturn will be angled to show its northern hemisphere at this opposition, and the rings will inclined at an angle of 24° to our line of sight, which is almost the maximum inclination they can have. This means they will be very well presented. This is the best time to observe the ringed planet.

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July 14: Pluto At Opposition

Pluto at the night of opposition (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

Just after the perfect alignment with Saturn, the Earth will be sandwiched between Sun and Pluto on July 14. The dwarf planet will make its closest approach to Earth. It will be high all night in the constellation of Sagittarius. Pluto will 32.83 AU away from Earth. It will reach its maximum brightness of 14.5 mag. At this mag, it won't be visible to the naked eye as we can see up to 6 mag. Pluto is so distant from the Earth that it is not possible to distinguish it as more than a star-like point of light.

Also Read: The concept of mag in Astrophysics

July 16: Conjunction of Moon, Pluto And Saturn

The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°13' to the south of Saturn. The Moon will be 14 days old. The pair will be closest at 7:15 GMT. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.1, both in the constellation Sagittarius. Moon will be 13 days old. About 10 hours after this conjunction, at 17:17 GMT, Moon will make its close approach to Pluto passing within 0°2' of the dwarf planet. Look for it in a telescope. All the three will be in Sagittarius as shown below.

The two dots close together are Moon and Pluto in the evening of July 16. This is about 9 hours after the conjunction of Saturn and Moon. (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

July 17: Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse will take place on July 17, starting at 20:02 GMT (1:32 IST) and ending at 22:59 GMT (4:29 IST). he eclipse will be visible any location where the Moon is above the horizon at the time, including from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. The map of the eclipse is shown below:

Astronomy events in July 2019
The map of July 17 partial lunar eclipse. (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

July 21: Moon At Apogee

The Moon will reach the furthest point along its orbit to the Earth and will appear slightly smaller than at other times. The Moon's distance from the Earth varies because its orbit is not perfectly circular – it is instead slightly oval-shaped, tracing out a path called an ellipse. As the apogee of 21 July 2019 will occur when the moon is around last quarter phase, it will appear in the morning sky. On this occasion the Moon will recede to a distance of 405,000 km from the Earth and appear with an angular diameter of 29.45 arcsec. This may be compared to its average size of 31.07 arcmin.

Also Read: 10 Amazing Facts About Sun

July 29: delta Aquarid meteor shower

The last of all the important Astronomy events in July 2019 is the δ–Aquarid meteor shower. The δ–Aquarids will reach its maximum rate of activity on 29 July 2019. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 15 July to 20 August. The maximum rate of meteors expected is 20 per hour. The radiant of the shower (the point from which all the meteors appear to originate) lies in Aquarius (hence the name of the shower) as shown by the green mark in the image below:

Astronomy events in July 2019
The green mark shows the radiant of the shower on July 29 (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

The Moon will be 26 days old which means the sky will be devoid of unwanted moonlight.

So these were all the major Astronomy events in July 2019. Which one are you waiting for? Comment below and share this with your friends.

Also Read: Basics of Astrophysics Series

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