October 2, 2022

Astronomical summer begins. What to watch in the summer sky?

Today we say goodbye to astronomical spring. Exactly at 12:07 a.m. begins the astronomical summer, which will last 94 days 10 hrs. and 39 min. Astronomy lovers will not complain, because a whole bunch of attractions await them, the biggest of which are the Great Opposition of Mars and the longest lunar eclipse in the 21st century.

The beginning of the astronomical summer will be on June 21 at godz. 12:07, when the Sun will pass through the summer solstice point and enter the sign of Cancer. Astronomical summer will end on the night of September 22-23 (róautumn night).

Summer is the period of krótic, but warm nights, whichóre astronomy enthusiasts like to use to observe interesting phenomena in the sky. What is it that astronomers recommend to observe this summer vacation?

Astronomical final hitówki July will be the Great Opposition of Mars. On July 27, the Red Planet will be closest to Earth in its orbital motion around theó³ ³ the Sun, and in addition, it will then be near the perihelion of its orbit (the point closest to the Sun). This marks the short Earth-Mars distance in poróin comparison with other years. The distance will be 57.77 million kilometers, or several millionóin kilometeróIn less than two years ago in the case of the usual opposition of Mars.

Great Oppositions of Mars occur every dozen years or so, so astronomers encourage you to take the opportunity to see through a telescope for a particular oneós visible on the planet‘s surface. Even through a relatively small telescope, it will be possible to sprób to spot the polar caps.

While Mars can be observed in the weeks preceding and following the Great Opposition, a lunar eclipse will be seen only on a given day and at specific times. As it happens, the nearest total lunar eclipse róalso will occur on July 27. In Poland it will be visible in the evening at moonrise. The Silver Globe will appear above the horizon 12 minutes after the start of the partial phase of the eclipse. The total phase will last 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Every year during the vacations there are organized „nights of shooting stars”, usually around the maximum of the meteor swarmów named Perseids. It will fall in the second half of the night of August 12-13, and the entire period of swarm activity extends from July 17 to August 24. Perseids are white, fast meteors, whichóre may appear in series of several in a few minutes. During the maximum, there may be as many as 150 such phenomena per hour. Sourceóby the Perseidów is comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, and rój this has been known since ancient times.

During this summer we have the opportunity to observe many bright planets, as well as the less impressive ones. As the Evening Star, Venus shines very brightly. It will be like this throughout the summer. At the beginning of July, Venus will be setting around hrs. 23, and then gradually earlier and earlier – in September about an hour. 21. Venus will be easily spotted with the naked eye in the evening sky, as the brightest after the Moon.

Mars at the end of June and the beginning of July rises at approximately. 23, but it will occur increasingly quickly. In August, it will already be rising róonset of the sun. Unfortunately, the planet will be visible quite low above the horizon, but it will be exceptionally bright, reaching a brightness greater than that of Jupiter in late July and early August, at its maximum brightness. Mars róSaturn will also be easily visible to the naked eye.

Another very bright planet, perfectly visible to the naked eye, is actually Jupiter. In early July, it will be visible until about. 1, and póIt will begin to set faster and at the end of August it will disappear behind the horizon already before hrs. 22.

Weaker than Venus, Jupiter and Mars, but still well visible to the naked eye, is Saturn. At the beginning of July it will be visible all night, and at the end of August more or less until hrs. 23.

In July, it will again be possible to follow the flights of the International Space Station (ISS) over Poland. In mid-July, visible, bright flyovers will occur around póThe night and in the morning hours, and póThen the ISS will be seen a little earlier in the evening (e.g. about godz. 22). ISS visibility period will last until early August.