Notable Sky Objects
Here’s a good link for getting rise/set data, and figuring out where to look for planets, comets, and the like: http://www.heavens-above.com/ (don’t forget to put in your location, the link I’ve given you assumes Seattle!).
Although it is not marked on the map, Jupiter rises just after midnight and will be visible in the early morning in the constellation Pisces (beside Pegasus).
VENUS and MARS and SATURN
After sunset watch above the Western horizon as it begins to get dark. You’ll see Venus, Regulus (bright star in Leo) Mars, and Saturn in that order, reading from right to left, making a nice long line across the sky. Venus has been beautiful the times I’ve seen it this month … that is, when the clouds cooperate and part for decent sky viewing. These planets will be visible until just about midnight, setting one by one until then.
As I’ve mentioned before this summer’s Comet McNaught is not the same as the Comet McNaught from a few years ago. Mr. McNaught is prolific in his comet discoveries. To make sure you’re finding the right information, search for C/2009 R1 McNaught.
McNaught is currently in Gemini, passing close to the Sun which means we can’t see it. In a few weeks it will have passed its closest point to the Sun and will begin to move farther away, passing into our evening sky. Follow the progress at either of these links:
July 23- August 22 (peak August 12) – Perseid Meteor Shower, best viewed after midnight, looking towards the constellation Perseus.
Quick note to long-time followers of AstroInfo. The section below is a straight copy-and-paste job from last July-August. The constellations don’t change from year to year, and we’ve got some new people this year who haven’t gotten the information below. Hey, perhaps you need a quick refresher too, after all, it has been a whole year. In any case, if you prefer to stop reading here I will not be offended.
AQUILA – The Eagle
SCIENCE: Altair is the BEST star in the whole sky (because I’m named after it).
MYTH: Tanabata: there are versions of this myth all over Asia, all slightly different, but all telling the same basic story. This is one of the Japanese versions. Kengyuu (Altair) is a cowherder boy and he is in love with Orihime (Vega) the weaver princess. They are so in love that they forget to do their chores, and the Emperor decides to punish them. He places them in the sky on opposite sides of Amanogawa, the River of Heaven (the Milky Way) so they cannot meet. The magpies take pity on them, and one day out of the year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (August 26th, 2009), they build a bridge over the Milky Way so the lovers can be together. Unfortunately, if it is raining or cloudy, the magpies are not able to build the bridge.
ANDROMEDA – The Princess
SCIENCE: M31- The Andromeda Galaxy is visible to the naked eye, and better through a telescope.
MYTH: Saudi Arabians called Andromeda “the sea lion”. To the Phoenicians, the whole part of the sky where Andromeda is seen as a threshing floor, and the constellation is a grain thresher working
PERSEUS – Perseus
SCIENCE: The Perseid Meteor shower appears to radiate out of the constellation Perseus. The point meteors all appear to originate is called the “radiant.”
MYTH: For the ancient Chinese, the right side of the constellation Perseus is the Mausoleum. The star just inside the right-hand curl is Jishi – the Heap of Corpses.
PEGASUS – The Flying Horse
SCIENCE: The star at the tip of the horse’s head is called Enif, which means “nose.”
MYTH: The two northernmost stars in the Great Square of Pegasus (α And, and γ Peg: the star attached to Andromeda, and the star next to it that is part of the horse’s back) are the “Encampment” in Chinese mythology. There are three pairs of stars scattered near this asterism which are Ligong or “Resting Places” for the Emperor.
CAPRICORNUS – The Sea Goat
SCIENCE: Jupiter is right beside Capricornus this month.
MYTH: Part of Capricornus along with parts of Pisces and Aquarius make the “Line of Ramparts” in ancient Chinese mythology – a line of fortresses built by the celestial army. Since I can’t read Chinese, I can’t tell you exactly which stars these are, but check the Chinese Starmap.
Going for the Gold? Here’re this month’s itty-bittys.
CANES VENATICI – The Hunting Dogs
COMA BERENICES – Berenice’s Hair
SERPENS – The Serpent
LIBRA – The Scales
SCUTUM – The Shield
VULPECULA – The Fox
SAGGITA – The Arrow
EQUULEUS – The Horse
LACERTA – The Lizard
TRIANGULUM – The Triangle
LEO MINOR – The Small Lion (Between the Big Dipper and Leo)
CAMELOPARDALIS– The Giraffe
LYNX – The Lynx
DELPHINUS – The Dolphin
LYRA – The Lyre
CYGNUS – The Swan
SCORPIUS – The Scorpion
BOÖTES – The Herdsman
HERCULES – Hercules
CORONA BOREALIS – The Northern Crown
CEPHEUS – King Cepheus
DRACO – The Dragon
URSA MAJOR – The Great Bear
URSA MINOR – The Little Bear
CASSIOPEIA – The Queen
Where’d I Get My Info?
My memory, and Zeta Strickland
CHAN Ki-hung, Chinese Ancient Starmap, 2007
~ A l i c e !