• Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Sky this Season: Summer 2013

by Mike Meynell

Here is a list of objects to view in the night sky during the Summer 2013:

  1. Noctilucent Clouds: These clouds are 80-85km above the Earth’s surface and are therefore the highest clouds ever seen, 10-times higher than Cirrus cloud. They are often a bluish colour or intense white and the clouds are extremely thin, made of tiny ice crystals which reflect sunlight. They may only be seen 3 or 4 times a year in any locality, primarily because the skies are more normally cloudy than clear… as we all know!

  2. Coathanger Cluster: This is a cluster of about three dozen stars spread over one degree. The brightest stars form an asterism in the shape of a coathanger.

  3. Summer Milky Way: We see a different view of the Milky Way each season of the year. The summer Milky Way is the brightest view and at this time you can see the feature called the Great Rift. This rift is a dark band running between Cygnus and Scutum created by a group of dense interstellar clouds blocking the light of stars behind them. The summer Milky Way rises in the north and runs high across the sky through Cygnus and Aquilla and across to the southern horizon where we look directly toward the centre of the galaxy in Sagittarius and Scorpius.

  4. Sagittarius: Sagittarius is one of the most difficult zodiacal constellations to see from the UK (declination -26°). The further south you are the better, with the best time to view in August. This area is densely populated with star clusters and nebulae, many of which can be seen with the naked eye.

  5. M22 Globular Cluster: The brightest globular cluster visible from Northern hemisphere

  6. Perseids Meteor Shower: The maximum of the Perseid activity is expected on 12 August 2013. Get yourself a deck-chair and watch the show!

The presentation is shown in the video below. Watch it full screen to see the star maps clearly. Press the spacebar to pause and restart the video. If the video is not displayed correctly below, watch it on Vimeo here.

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