Let Saturn be your guide to July’s night skies

Lots to watch for in summer's evening skies over Oak Bay

Highlights from July's night skies.

What’s up in July’s night skies? Use Saturn as your guide for a tour of the summertime Milky Way.

In the southeast sky over Seattle, Saturn continues to dazzle this month as it climbs up the Salish Walk of the Planets – the ecliptic arc which reaches from East to West.

Saturn’s wide rings and golden colour provide a nice contrast to nearby Mars just up and ahead on the ecliptic, in the south towards Port Angeles.

Below Saturn lies the constellation Scorpius, which really does look like a scorpion!

Through binoculars or telescopes you’ll be able to spot two pretty star clusters, a compact or globular cluster M-4 and an open cluster M-7.

M-7 is known as Ptolemy’s cluster. It was observed and cataloged by Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy in the first century.

Jupiter is in the southwest – look towards Metchosin and Sooke.

Climbing north, you’ll be able to spot the teapot shape which forms part of the constellation Sagittarius.

The centre of the Milky Way is easy to see – it looks like bright steam rising from the teapot’s spout.

With difficulty, a good star chart and a medium-sized telescope you can locate faint Pluto in the “teaspoon” adjacent to the teapot.

A binocular tour of this centre core of the Milky Way reveals many beautiful summer sky objects.

You’ll have to stay up later to see the northern Milky Way constellations, which are better placed for viewing later in the summer and fall.

We first encounter the Eagle Nebula, M-16. Part of this nebula is featured in the famous and beautiful Pillars of Creation images taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Cygnus the swan features the prettiest supernova remnant in the entire sky: the Veil Nebula.

It’s too big to fit in one eyepiece view, but luckily there are three sections of it.

Look between Aquila and Cygnus to find three tiny constellations: Delphinus the dolphin, Vulpecula the fox and Lyra the lyre (or harp).

M-57, the Ring Nebula, is the remains of a shell of ionized gas expelled by a red giant red star into the surrounding interstellar medium. It’s pretty too!

Look in Vulpecula for the Dumbell, another planetary nebula.

We’ll end our summer tour with Lacerta the lizard and Draco the Dragon.

Lacerta is home to a star with an extra-solar planet in its orbit, and Draco, facing away from the centre of our Milky Way, is a treasure trove of distant galaxies to catch in your telescope.

Night skies fans can catch up on current missions and space telescopes studying our Milky Way and beyond at nasa.gov.

Learn about current missions to comets, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn at www.jpl.nasa.gov and on all of NASA’s missions at Nasa.gov, where you can also learn about NASA’s missions to the planets and beyond.

Should you wish to meet the RASCals of Cattle Point visit us online at facebook.com/groups/VictoriaRASCals/ We also meet at Fairfield Community Centre every Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Dark Skies to all friends of Cattle Point Star Park.

By Bill Smith and the RASCals of Cattle Point – volunteers at Cattle Point DARK SKY Urban Star Park. This summary is from the transcript of “What’s Up in July 2016” by NASA announcer and astronomer Jane Houston Jones, with specific permission for localization to Cattle Point DARK SKY Urban Star Park and the Oak Bay News.


Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Flu season could last until May — Greater Victoria clinics offer flu shots

Vaccines are available through public health clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices

Remembering Nirvana in Victoria on Cobain’s 52 birthday

Nirvana played one show in Victoria on March 8, 1991 at the Forge

Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

Motion submitted to Regional Water Supply Commission opposing highway in watershed

UPDATED: Langford homes evacuated after water main break

Break at the corner of Goldstream Avenue and Strathmore Road, several homes without water

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Most Read