Sky watching from Glasgow – July 2013

Watch the sky from Glasgow or elsewhere in the UK and you might catch a glimpse of the Summer Triangle, Scorpius and its brightest star, Antares or closer to Earth, eerie yet captivating Noctilucent clouds.

You’ll also find the sunrise and sunset times from the city in this post, and the Moon phases so you can plan when best to look skywards this July.

The Night Sky

So, if you’re watching the night time skies this month from Glasgow (or indeed from much of the UK) what can you expect to see?

The image below (click to embiggen), shows the whole overhead night sky at midnight on 8th July from Glasgow, Scotland.

The overhead night sky at midnight from Glasgow, UK on 8th July 2013. Made using Stellarium.

The overhead night sky at midnight from Glasgow, UK on 8th July 2013.

With fewer hours or no hours of proper darkness at this time of year it can be more difficult to see the faint objects in the night sky, but in some respects it can make it easier to see some of the key stars, asterisms and constellations. The ‘Summer Triangle‘ is comprised of the bright stars Deneb, Altair and Vega. Visible from even the city’s light-polluted skies this asterism signals summer is upon us – seeing it probably even means the weather is favourable too!

Also, look out for Antares – the brightest star in the constellation, Scorpius. Low on the horizon from Glasgow this constellation is best seen from the Southern hemishere and lies close to the direction of the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Planet Saturn is on the boundary of the constellation Virgo, close to the bright star, Spica. Earlier in the evening you may see Venus as an ‘evening star’ setting to the west just after the Sun.

If you’d like to use the lighter nights to your advantage, why not check out these fantastic books about astronomy.

Sunrise and Sunset times, Glasgow

  • 8th July 2013 – Sunrise 04:44 Sunset 22:00
  • 16th July 2013 – Sunrise 04:54 Sunset 21:51
  • 22nd July 2013 – Sunrise 05:04 Sunset 21:42
  • 29th July 2013 – Sunrise 05:16 Sunset 21:29

Times are listed are local to Glasgow and take account of Daylight Saving Time (also known as British Summer Time or BST).

Moon Phases

  • New Moon – 8 July 2013, 08:15
  • First Quarter – 16th July 2013, 04:19
  • Full Moon – 22nd July 2013, 19:16
  • Last Quarter – 29th July 2013, 18:44

Times are listed are local to Glasgow and take account of Daylight Saving Time.

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds, Kuresoo bog, Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Image Credit: Martin Koitmäe

Noctilucent clouds, Kuresoo bog, Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Image Credit: Martin Koitmäe

The highest occuring clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere are called NLCs or Noctilucent clouds. Found in the mesosphere (the atmospheric layer above the stratosphere), some 80 km up, these rare formations are occasionally seens on clear midsummer nights from northern lattitudes. Their underside is illuminated by the setting Sun, but the origins of these complex, milky-blue, night-shining clouds are not very well understood.

If clouds are your thing – and let’s face it, who can fail to be mesmorised on a daily basis by the stunning beauty and variety of them – then you’ll definately want to check out the Cloud Appreciation Society and get yourself a good cloudspotting guide.

Enjoy your skygazing this month!

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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