The Night Sky - July 2018
As the Sun almost reluctantly begins to move southwards on the ecliptic again, nights begin to lengthen for UK observers during July.
By the month's end 'proper' dark skies are available around 1am BST. Although July does offer the opportunity to view Noctilucent Clouds - see
below and Saturn was at opposition on the 27th of June and so will be visible during all the (few!!) hours of darkness. Jupiter remains
visible in the southwest in the late evening albeit at low elevation, just 20 degrees when crossing the meridian.
High Lights of the Month
- 9th (sunset): Venus close to Regulus in Leo
- 10th (before dawn): The Moon in the Hyades Cluster
- 15th (after sunset): Venus to the left of a very thin crescent Moon
- 19th (after sunset): Jupiter below a waxing Moon
- 24th (after sunset): Saturn close to a waxing Moon
- 27th (after sunset): a Total Eclipse of the Moon
Noctilucent clouds also known as polar mesospheric clouds are most commonly seen in the deep twilight towards the north from our latitude.
They are the highest clouds in the atmosphere at heights of around 80 km or 50 miles.
Normally too faint to be seen they are visible when illuminated by sunlight from below the northern horizon whilst the
lower parts of the atmosphere are in shadow. So on a clear dark night as light is draining from the north western sky
after sunset take a look towards the north and you might just spot them.
Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine