Sky at Night – July 2020

The earth is at Aphelion at mid-day on 4 July, which means that it is at the furthest distance it can be from the Sun. On 6 July, the full moon passes just below Jupiter in the SSE sky, and with Saturn to the upper left, this makes an interesting sight. With binoculars held steady, it is interesting to watch the 4 main satellites of Jupiter as they change position around the planet each night.

Look out for Earthshine on the dark hemisphere of the crescent moon between 21st and 26th, low in the West to Southwest sky. This is the light reflecting back from the Earth onto the dark side of the moon.

NASA will be launching the rover ‘Perseverance’ to Mars during a launch window from 20 July to 11 August. This will land in February 2021, and is particularly interesting because the rover will also carry a small Mars helicopter to aid in the mission. I have a ‘boarding pass’ for this mission, which means that my name is included on a small micro-chip on board the craft. This is something that NASA regularly does for their missions, and I will try to alert everyone for the next opportunity.