Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire. All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.
Solar System quick summary
For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.
Jupiter and Saturn are the main dominant evening planets with the smaller worlds of Ceres and Pluto also in the evening sky. Neptune rises at 9pm mid month so will soon join them. Next up is Uranus and minor planet Vesta in the morning sky. Mercury has a good morning apparition for most of the month. Venus and Mars are lost in the solar glare and not viewable. The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the morning of the 13th best spotted once the moon has set around 3am. The moon occults Delta1 Tauri on the morning of the 24th and for some areas Delta Geminorum (Wasat) on the 27th. Jupiter again lies very close to the globular cluster NGC 6235 for a stunning photo opportunity. There are two ’New’ moons this month although they are not observable.
Jupiter during 2019
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system rlies in the evening SW sky and shines at mag -
Its main features as seen in a telescope are shown at right and considerable detail can be viewed with care and patience. The Great Red Spot often looks paler than images suggest and you should remember that at some times the other side of the planet may be turned towards us so the GRS may not be visible. At the time of writing this web page, the GRS is undergoing a dramatic shrinking and substantial change so do keep an eye on it!
Using a binocular or small telescope look out for the four Galilean moons (above) as they wheel about the planet in their orbits, as a bonus. Now that Jupiter is at opposition it will become an easier target in the evening sky for those who don’t like early mornings!
The image at left is a composite taken of Jupiter and Saturn on June 28th/29th 2019 and shows their sizes to scale using an 8 inch SCT telescope. Saturn is roughly twice as far away as Jupiter from us and so looks half the size but makes up for it with its ring system.
Saturn during 2019
With Saturn at opposition last month on July 9th now is a good time to look at it with a small telescope. The main features are shown here at right with a dusky belt on the planets disk and two distinct Rings,, ‘A’ and ‘B’ with a gap between them that depends on atmospheric condition as to how well you see it. The ‘C’ ring is much harder and quite diffuse but often the polar hood does stand out as slightly darker than the rest of the planets disk. Something else to look for but not close to opposition is the shadow of the planet on the rings as seen in the authors image at right. At opposition the rings themselves can be noticeably brighter so worth keeping an eye out for any changes on the approach up to and just after opposition.
Saturn is not alone and has a retinue of moons some of which can be viewed in telescopes. A large binocular or small telescope will show Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, whilst Rhea, Tethys, Dione and Iapetus need larger telescopes. Titan’s path and dates E & W are in the table here covering May through to September so why not watch out for it?
Meanwhile, Mercury puts on a good morning show for us which lasts almost all month. In the morning apparitions it is always brightest at the end and so our chart tries to depict this but in an exaggerated way for clarity. Similarly, the chart time is not set for a specific time but for ~ 40 minutes before sunrise which helps keep the later days above the horizon when Mercury is at its brightest. The innermost planet is shown every two days and is technically at greatest western elongation (GEW) from the Sun on the 9th (19°).
On the 1st it is mag 2.0 and steadily brightens reaching mag 0.1 on the 9th. It continues to improve but after the 14th will also start its descent back towards the sun but is still brightening. By the time the slim crescent moon (greatly exaggerated on the chart) lies to its upper right on the 29th, Mercury will be mag -
Although Jupiter and Saturn dominate the evenings let’s take a look at dwarf planet Ceres. It moves away from Lambda Librae (close to it on July 28th) and crosses into Scorpius passing above a mag 5.8 star on Aug 9th then passes between Graffias (Beta Sco) and Dschubba (Delta Sco) on the 17th. Look around 10pm over towards the SSW to SW horizon for Scorpius and use a good pair of binoculars (10x50’s) to locate and follow Ceres as it shines at mag 8.5. It then passes under Omega Sco from the 20th to 24th so a good opportunity to look at this nice wide double star. The moon lies nearby and above on the 8th when the moon will be close to Theta Librae as an added bonus. This part of the sky is getting lower in the SW but as the sky is also getting darker earlier, then we can continue to follow Ceres. With the moon close to Theta Librae our chart here shows the moon 5x normal size but that means it covers Theta so the inset shows the true scale of the moon and its distance from the star. The moon is then close to Jupiter and above Antares on the 9th so look out at around 10pm towards the SSW.
Jupiter meanwhile has a very close encounter with the Globular cluster NGC 6235 again on the 27th as shown above left as the red circle on the main chart and as a telescope view above right with a magnification of x222. Jupiter and its Galilean moons pass through this field of view and past the globular from the 24th to 28th for an interesting few days and an ideal photo opportunity.
Finally, although not ideal this year, when the Perseid meteor shower peaks on the early morning of the 13th the moon sets around 3am giving about an hour of good dark sky to watch out for any meteors. There is even a possibility of higher rates due to a filament of material (at the time of writing) so it is worth looking out even before the moon has set. So do have a look for them if it is clear that night/morning.
Also look out for the following:
5th Moon lies to upper right of Spica (evening twilight)
7th First Quarter moon lies above Alpha Librae (evening)
8th Saturn lies south of Omicron Sagittarii (evening)
11th Moon lies to the right of Saturn (evening)
12th Moon lies to the left of Saturn (evening)
15th Moon lies above Spica (evening twilight)
16th Moon lies close to Tau Aquarii (evening)
17th Moon lies to lower left of Neptune (evening)
22nd Moon lies below left of Uranus (morning)
23rd Last Quarter moon is above Vesta, forms triangle with M45 and Aldebaran
24th Moon lies above right of Aldebaran and occults Delta1 Tauri (morning)
27th Crescent moon occults Wasat in Gemini (morning -
28th Slim crescent moon lies to the upper right of M44 in Cancer (MT)
Clear skies and happy sky watching.
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2019
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2019
Keep a look out for Noctilucent Clouds after sunset, see the NLC link button above.
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