SPACE JUNK: JULY 2014
Photo Credit & Copyright: ME of M13 in Hercules. Single 40 second exposure w’ no processing. I’ve revised and expanded this monthly segment from the monthly “Lunar Calendar” to “Space Junk.” Within are still all lunar phases except now I have added any other major monthly events from meteor showers to conjunctions, oppositions and points of interest. Check out NASA’s Lunar Phase & Libration video below. I have also listed all resources used to generate these monthly calendars at the bottom of the post!
This month we have a Super Moon, a few close conjunctions, Earth will be as far from the sun as it will be all year, we have a weak meteor shower and Pluto reaches opposition.
WERE YOU BORN ON A FULL MOON?! This great page from Moon Giant shows you what phase the Moon was in when you were born; check it out: http://www.moongiant.com/birthday_moon/
JULY 1st (Tue) – Entering the month the Moon is 4 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 16% illuminated in its waxing crescent phase.
JULY 3rd (Thu) – Earth reaches aphelion at 2000 EDT (0000 UTC on the 4th). Today you are as far from the Sun as you will be all year at a distance of 94,506,460 mi or 152,093,481 km. That’s roughly 3 million mi (5 million km) further away than you will be 6 months from now. Confused by this? Aphelion is a combination of 2 Greek words; “apo” meaning “away or off” and “helios” meaning “Greek GOD of the Sun”. Here’s my writeup on Earth temperatures and seasons: https://danspace77.com/seasons-temperatures/
JULY 3rd (Thu) – Pluto reaches opposition at 2300 EDT (0300 UTC on the 4th). Don’t get too excited though because even at its closest point to earth is will still be a very faint apparent magnitude of 14 or +14. Spotting Pluto with a backyard scope (preferably 8” or larger) you will still only see a star like point.
JULY 4th & 5th (Fri & Sat) Major asteroids Ceres & Vesta are only 10 degrees apart on the sky.
JULY 4th (Fri) – LUNAR-X also known as the PURBACH or WERNER CROSS is scheduled to begin forming the “X” at 1714 UTC (1314 EDT). The Lunar-X is the big, more prominent brother to the Curtiss Cross. This “X” is created by the effect of shadows along rims and ridges of craters LaCaille, Blanchinus and Purbach. The “X” formations occur along the Terminator (where “day” meets “night” along the Moon).
JULY 5th (Sat) – FIRST QUARTER MOON is the Moon watchers paradise. Occurring at 2040 UTC (1640 EDT), First Quarter Moons and the waxing crescent phase leading up to it offer some of the most visually stunning views the Moon has to offer. Most of us will take the beautiful curves, valleys and shadows of a 1st Quarter Moon over a Full Moon ANY day.
JULY 5th (Sat) – Moon is very close to Mars tonight. About one half degree will separate them.
JULY 5th (Sat) – MAGINUS SUNRISE RAY will occur at 1103 UTC (0703 EDT). At the right times and as the Sun rises over the Crater Maginus (Near the terminator) a beautiful sun ray shines through a break in the craters eastern wall. The result is a vast triangle or “V” formation of light cast upon the crater floor for a period of a few hours. Maginus Crater (Named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini) is a pre-Nectarian impact crater located in the southern lunar highlands and to the south east of Tycho Crater. It’s 110 miles (177km.) and has been extremely eroded by subsequent impacts on or near the site through the millennia. Its selenographic coordinates (Definition below) are Latitude: 50.5°S / Longitude: 6.3°W.
JULY 06th (Sun) – The Moon reaches Ascending Node at 0950 UTC (0550 EDT).
JULY 7th (Mon) – Moon is very close to Saturn tonight.
JULY 10th (Thu) – The Moon is at its Greatest Southern Declination of -18.58 degrees.
JULY 12th (Sat) – The Full Moon “Super Moon” will occur at 1126 UTC (0726 EDT). Full Buck Moon: July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon.
This Full Moon is the 3rd of 5 “Super Moons” of 2014.
JULY 13th (Sun) – Mars just over 1 degree from Spica tonight.
JULY 13th (Sun) – PERIGEE MOON occurs at 0828 UTC (0428 EDT) and is when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. It will be subtending at 33’arc minutes from a distance of 358,258 km (222,611 mi).
JULY 18th (Fri) – Last Quarter Moon occurs this month at 2209 EDT (0209 UTC on the 19th).
JULY 18th (Fri) – The Moon reaches Descending Node at 2121 UTC (1721 EDT).
JULY 19th (Sat) – The brilliant Walther Sunset Ray will occur at 1553 UTC (1153 EDT). Located in the ancient 145 kilometer (90 mile) Necterian age crater named Walther (Formerly Walter or Valtherus) is a special treat that occurs monthly for a matter of a few hours. On the western rim of the crater there’s a notch and when the Sun is setting low on the lunar horizon (When the crater is near the terminator) light penetrates the notch, creating a vast triangle or “V” shaped light ray across the craters floor that ends as it illuminates the central peak of the crater. Walther Crater a heavily eroded crater located in the Lunar Southern Highlands at the Selenographic Coordinates (Definition below) of Latitude: 33.1°S / Longitude: 1.0°E. It’s named after German astronomer Bernhard Walther. This crater also has a sunrise ray that instead of a light ray is a long shadow cast by the central peak.
JULY 20th (Sun) – The CURTISS CROSS, a shadowing effect along craters Gambart and Parry which create an “X” shaped formation and will occur at 1959 UTC (1559 EDT).
JULY 22nd (Tue) – AUG 1st (Fri) As of the 22nd we are on the verge of July’s new moon (Lunation 1133), this week presents nights that are the absolute BEST nights to get out and observe Deep Sky Objects (DSOs) because you won’t have to look through the spotlight that is the Moon. Night skies without the Moon are significantly more productive for viewing and photography ANY night sky object (besides the Moon itself of course). For the lucky ones, this week offers the amazing spectacle of the extreme crescent moon, both waning in the east & waxing in the west.
JULY 23rd (Wed) – The Moon reaches its Greatest Northern Declination of +18.55 degrees.
JULY 24th & 25th (Thu & Fri) – Thin crescent Moon will be close to Venus in the morning. Look for a Mercury sighting as well.
JULY 26th (Sat) – New Moon (LUNATION 1133) occurs at 2242 UTC (1842 EDT).
JULY 28th (Mon) – APOGEE MOON once again occurs at 0328 UTC (2328 EDT on the 27th) where the Moon is at its furthest point from Earth in its current orbit and will be subtending at 29’ arc minutes from a distance of 406,568 km (252,630 mi).
July 28th & 29th (Mon & Tue): Peak of the delta Aquarids meteor shower on the night of the 28th and morning of the 29th. As this shower peaks at about 15-20 per hour I usually don’t write much about it but this year we are very close to the New Moon so there may be some opportunities to see some great streaks. The best candidate for a parent to this shower is Comet 69P Machholz.
JULY 31st (Thu) – Leaving the month the Moon is 4 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 18% illuminated in its waxing crescent phase.
***Definition of LIBRATION (basically) – Is an oscillation of an orbiting body relative to another. OK, so…We know the Earth/Moon system is tidally locked so we always see the same side of the moon. Due to libration, we ACTUALLY see about 60% of the Moon instead of what you may intuitively think of as a 50% measurement. That’s because the Moon oscillates slightly as it rotates and orbits Earth. So, on occasion and with a keen eye we can see a little further “around the corner” north, south, east and west on the moon by a couple degrees.
***SUBTENDING Explained – Definition: The angle formed by an object at a given external point. The moon subtends an angle of approximately 0.54° (32 arc minutes) to an observer on the Earth. Of course, the moon’s orbit is not constant or exactly circular, so this varies a little, but not by very much.
If you hold up your thumb at arm’s length, you can easily cover the full moon. This means your thumb subtends a larger angle to your eye at arm’s length than the moon does at 380,000 kilometers.
In general, the closer you are to a particular object the larger that subtending angle.
***SELENOGRAPHIC COORDINATES Defined – Selenographic coordinates are used to refer to locations on the surface of Earth’s Moon. Any position on the lunar surface can be referenced by specifying two numerical values, which are comparable to the latitude and longitude of Earth. The longitude gives the position east or west of the Moon’s prime meridian, which is the line of longitude passing through the point on the lunar surface directly facing Earth. (See also Earth’s prime meridian.) This can be thought of as the midpoint of the visible Moon as seen from the Earth. The latitude gives the position north or south of the lunar equator. Both of these coordinates are given in terms of degrees. Astronomers defined the fundamental location in the selenographic coordinate system by the small, bowl-shaped satellite crater ‘Mösting A’. The coordinates of this crater are defined as:
Latitude: 3° 12′ 43.2″ South / Longitude: 5° 12′ 39.6″ West.
The coordinate system has become precisely defined due to the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment. Anything past 90°E or 90°W would not be seen from Earth, except for libration, which makes 59% of the Moon visible.
NASA | Moon Phase and Libration North Up 2014: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKRtZ89AMts
2014 Moon phases with TIMES: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_phases/2014
FULL YEAR of Lunar Cycles: Previous and Future years as well: http://kalender-365.de/lunar-calendar.php?yy=2014
2014 Moon phase & illumination calendar: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/2014/june
Full & New Moon Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php
BLUE MOON Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Blue_Moon_Calendar.php
SUPERMOON Calendar: http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/suprmoon.html
2014 Perigee & Apogee DATES, TIMES & DISTANCES as well as Full & New Moon dates & times: http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html
2014 Perigee & Apogee: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/distance.html
Lunar Ray predictions: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/rays.htm
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times: http://www.40-below.com/sunmoon/
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the DAY: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the YEAR: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php
Farmer’s Almanac Full Moon Names: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Lunar ASCENDING & DESCENDING Nodes: http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/moon/moonnodes2001.html
Greatest NORTHERN & SOUTHERN Declinations of the Moon: http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/mo-dcl-2014.html
Moon Phases for ANY date: http://www.moonpage.com/
NASA GODDARD Moon NOW: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a004100/a004118/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calculatorcat.com/moon_phases/phasenow.php
Moon right NOW: http://www.die.net/moon/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calendar-365.com/moon/current-moon-phase.html
NASA JPL Ephemeris Calculator: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons
Lunar Ephemeris Calculator: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/ephemeris.htm
Sunrise & Sunset CHART: http://sunrisehour.com/sunrise-sunset/united_states/boston_ma
Kilometers (km) to miles (mi.) converter: http://www.metric-conversions.org/length/kilometers-to-miles.htm