July 2022 sees Australia and New Zealand in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere winter and this means of the best astro objects our skies are on display. The Southern Cross or Crux rides high in the night sky at dusk in the south and is at its best for viewing for hours after. A treat for your eyes alone, under darks skies a dark patch called The Coalsack appears to be a void it the rich section of the Milky Way that runs through The Southern Cross. It’s actually a vast region of dust and gas, blocking starlight behind and probably the best example of a “dark nebula”. A short distance from the left arm of the Southern Cross is stunning collection of stars of different colours and brightnesses. This open cluster is called The Jewel Box (NGC 4755) and easily found with a pair of binoculars. A small telescope will reveal even more. Open clusters are groups of stars likely been formed together recently in the same region and are now heading away from each other, as opposed to a globular cluster is made up of a vast number of much older, ancient stars that are grativationally bound together. We’ll touch on these next month.
Full Moon is July 14th and a “Super Moon” – when Earth and The Moon are at their closest so the Moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. The 2021/22 La Niña weather even has been officially declared as finished but time of writing, extensive dangerous rains and flooding continue to last the east coast of Australia. Hope everyone stays safe!
The other big space news of July 2022 will be the release of the first full colour science images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on the 12th July (USA time).
Sent By : Martin Dowd
Photoname: Omega Centauri (NGC 5139)
Details: Taken from a light polluted Sydney backyard during a Full Moon, Martin used a BINTEL 6” Newtonian Reflector and a ZWO ASI2600MC camera. This is the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way. It appears as a faint smudge with your eyes under a dark sky and even a small telescope reveals a tightly bound ball of stars. Larger telescopes will let you explore more and more stars. It’s thought there’s more than ten million stars in an area about 150 light years across. We get a lot of questions about how to see Jupiter or Saturn’s rings, but there’s a swag of spectacular objects like this you can point your telescope towards as well.
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