Juno at Jupiter’s Red Spot and Mercury after sunset

While viewing Jupiter on Monday, think about Juno flying by the Great Red Spot and for a challenge try to see Mercury in evening twilight. Here is your guide to the sky for July 10 to 16, 2017…

Sun and Moon

Sunrise this week is at 5:03 am and sunset at 8:19 pm this week with the Sun being located in Gemini the Twins.  Last Quarter Moon is on Sunday at 3:26 pm.

Planets wanderers of the sky…

Try catching Mercury in twilight after sunset low in the western sky, it sets a half hour after the Sun so you have to catch it early and have a good horizon to see it. While it is low, it is very bright at -0.4 apparent magnitude. Venus rises around 2:20 am in Taurus and on Thursday looks like a second eye being 3 degrees from Aldebaran.  Monday night Juno will make its closest approach to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (flying to within 9,000 kilometers) and the planet is in the southwest at sunset in Virgo setting just after midnight this week. Saturn in Ophiuchus transits the meridian at 10:25 making it prime for observing in small telescopes.  Mars is lost behind the Sun and is not visible this week.

Sagittarius the teapot and the Milky Way

Summer is the best time of the year to see the Milky Way Galaxy from Maine’s skies.  Start by finding Sagittarius the Archer, or better the teapot in the south after sunset.  While the constellation is supposed to represent a centaur archer, it is easier to see a teapot shape with the base at the horizon, a small triangle for a spout, a small handle and even a lid.  If you find this teapot, the “steam” rising out of it is our Milky Way Galaxy which will rise upward and pass through the Summer Triangle and terminating near the horizon past Cassiopeia the Queen.  Between the spout of the teapot and Saturn which is a few degrees above it, lies the center of our galaxy.  This is the thickest part of the galaxy – do check it out, especially in nice dark skies!

July 14 at 10:00pm -Starchart by Heavens-Above.com

Return of ISS to our skies

Monday morning from 3:45 am to 3:51am catch the return of the International Space Station to our skies.  It will move from west southwest to east northeast.  See it again on Tuesday from 2:55 am to 2:59 am from southwest to east.  On Thursday see it from 2:47am to 2:51 am moving from west to northeast. On Sunday it makes a bright pass from 1:48 am to 1:51 am moving from north to northeast.

Check out Jupiter or Mercury, see the teapot and the Milky Way, or catch Venus in Taurus this week.  Happy summer stargazing and keep your eye on the sky!

Shawn Laatsch

About Shawn Laatsch

Shawn Laatsch is the director of the Emera Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium at the University of Maine. He started his astronomy education career in 1984 and has directed planetariums in university and science center facilities, taught undergraduate astronomy courses, and given numerous lectures around the globe. He serves as President (2017 & 2018) of the International Planetarium Society, Inc. the world’s largest organization of planetarium professionals. Shawn has a passion for sharing astronomy and stargazing with people of all ages.