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    Articles > July 2003
 
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Celestial Delights

Both an introduction to Astronomy and a calendar of upcoming celestial events to 2010, this layperson's guide forecasts and explains numerous celestial phenomena in lucid writing and easy-to-grasp diagrams. Specially written for urban skywatchers, Celestial Delights deepens our appreciation of what we see when we look up into the night sky, and inspires us to do so more often.
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  Sky Calendar -- July 2003
2 Moon near Jupiter (mag. ­1.8) at 23h UT (evening sky).
4 Earth at aphelion (furthest from Sun) at 6h UT. The distance between the two bodies is 152.1 million kilometers (94.5 million miles) measured from their centers, reducing to 147.1 million kilometers at perihelion (closest) on 4 January.
5 Mercury at superior conjunction at 10h UT (not visible). The elusive planet now passes into the evening sky.
7 First Quarter Moon at 2:32 UT.
8 Venus very close to Saturn at 7h UT (11° from Sun, morning sky). Mags. ­3.9, +0.1; 0.83° apart.
10 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 22h UT (distance 365,145 km; angular size 32.7').
11 Moon near Antares (mag. +1.03, brightest star in the constellation Scorpius) at 0h UT.
13 Full Moon at 19:21 UT. The full Moon of July is called the "Thunder Moon" or "Hay Moon".
17 Moon very near Mars (mag. ­1.9) at 8h UT (morning sky). Skywatchers in North and South America will witness the rare sight of a brilliant Mars near the Moon. Skywatchers in southeastern Florida, the Caribbean, and parts of Central America will see a spectacular occultation of Mars. On August 27 Mars will shine at mag. ­2.9 when it comes closer to Earth than it has in 59,620 years!
21 Last Quarter Moon at 7:01 UT.
22 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 20h UT (distance 404,328 km; angular size 29.6').
24 Moon near the Pleiades at 0h UT (morning sky).
26 Mercury very close to Jupiter at 3h UT (20° from Sun, evening sky). Mags. ­0.3, ­1.7; 0.36° apart at closest.
28 Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. Active from July 12 to August 19. Produces medium speed, faint meteors (about 15 to 20 per hour). Best seen from southern hemisphere.
29 New Moon at 6:53 UT. Beginning of lunation 997.
30 Mercury very close to Regulus (mag. +1.34, brightest star in Leo) at 12h UT (23° from Sun, evening sky). Mercury (mag. ­0.1) will be 0.17° away from Regulus at their closest. The thin crescent Moon is nearby.
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Summer Time = UT ­ 4 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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