Not Much Summer Astronomy Happening – 2014-07-09

The late sunset for a few weeks before and after the summer solstice means that any deep sky observing can’t even start ’till quite late. Therefore i tend to abandon any plans for serious observing in the late spring and summer. The early sunrises also reduce the available dark sky time, so photography is a bust. That, and using a DSLR means that the camera sensor is hot – like 25c – so long exposures are quite noisy. In Ottawa, astronomical twilight is as late as 11:30 with dawn around 2:30. Even in July the skies don’t really get dark until 10:30.

I have therefore taken to quite casual observing. Mostly this means taking in the few star and planets visible when i take the dog for a walk around 9pm. I might get out the binoculars but not usually.

In June, i did manage to see Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury in the evening sky – all at the same time. I was actually lucky enough to see this lineup on two or three nights.

Just this month, i saw the conjunction of Mars with the 2 quarter moon. I think they were less than 1 degree apart.

The summer constellations are coming into view – Scorpios and Sagittarius. The latter a little later in the evening right now. The centre of the milky way is just a little right of Sagittarius and therefore is the brightest and most prominent section. By late August and September the milky way will be at it’s best in the evening.

I plan to start some astrophotography projects perhaps in late August when the nights are cooler and the skies are darker at a more reasonable time.