Here are the Moon phases in the Northern hemisphere for July 2011 and other interesting things of note in the sky.
1st July: New Moon
8th July: First Quarter
15th July: Full Moon
23rd July: Last Quarter
30th July: New Moon
The lighter nights of summer make stargazing more difficult for all but the hardiest of night owls! Still, there’s a lot to look out for both at night and during the day.
- The Summer Triangle
This asterism is made by three prominent stars looking southwards. Formed by Deneb, Altair and Vega it’s easy to find and a great starting point to finding other things of interest around the night sky.
To find Polaris (the North star) you can use the asterism known as The Plough, or The Big Dipper. Use the 6th and 7th stars of the asterism to point across the sky to Polaris.
- The Planets
All the planets visible to the naked eye (Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn) are up during the day this July and the brightness of the Sun realistically prevents any good view of them.
- International Space Station
You could keep a watchful eye out for the International Space Station (ISS) passing overhead. This NASA site provides real-time data as to it’s position, or you could check-out Heavens Above for information on the ISS and many other satellites and things of interest zooming around overhead!
I love looking at clouds too and highly recommend The Cloud Collector’s Handbook
to record your observations.
You’ll also want to get over to The Cloud Appreciation Society to bask in the beauty of these fluffy bundles of wonder!
If you are lucky you may spot noctilucent clouds over the summer months at around sunset or sunrise. These eerie-looking clouds are found high up in the atmosphere and tend to be seen 50° and 70° North and South of the equator. These ‘night-shining’ clouds seem to be becoming more common and are being studied by NASA’s AIM satellite.