July Night Sky 2016: Venus, Altair, Vega, The Milky Way & More!

July Night Sky 2016: Venus, Altair, Vega, The Milky Way & More!
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There is a lot in store for astronomers and space enthusiasts this week.


This month, Libra will appear halfway up in the southern sky. While it is not the most visible constellation, a few stars – including two of its brightest, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi – will mark its position. Located in central Libra, they are 10 degrees apart from one another.

The brighter of the two is Zubeneschamali, which is also called Beta Librae. According to Las Cruces Sun-News, it is a spectral type B8 star. Almost 185 light-years away from Earth, it is as much as 130 times brighter and five times the diameter of the Sun. Meanwhile, its sibling Zubenelgenubi is a system comprising of five stars. The two components of the system, Alpha1 Librae and Alpha2 Librae, are close double stars.

On June 30, Vega will appear as the brightest star in the east. A little towards its lower left will be the 4th magnitude Epsilon Lyrae, a multiple star, as reported by Sky and Telescope. On the same day, the red planet Mars will remain stationary; ending its westward movement and making its way towards Saturn and Antares.

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Jupiter, which is positioned in Leo though not as bright as it was last month, will set at 12:26 a.m.; Mars at 2:52 a.m.; and Saturn at 4:14 a.m.

On July 1, Jupiter will also be visible immediately after twilight. The following day, the Milky Way will appear across the eastern sky after nightfall. The galaxy will cover the region from below Cassiopeia in the north-northeast, across Cygnus and the Summer Triangle in the east, and past the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot in the south.

Venus, which will be extremely difficult to view in the glare of the sun, will reappear in the third week of July in west northwest direction.

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