Today’s Astronomical Events – July 27th, 2015

Dwarf planet Ceres is at opposition today, which means it is directly opposite the Sun in the sky. It therefore rises at sunset and sets at sunrise and is visible throughout the entire night. Unfortunately, it’s not well placed for observation this year as it’s hiding amongst the fainter stars of Sagittarius.

Discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1st 1801, it was initially thought to be a new planet but subsequent discoveries of other small worlds over the next few years led to a new category of solar system object being created: the asteroids. Ceres was known to be the largest but it was reclassified again as a dwarf planet (along with Pluto) in 2006.

In March 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft became the first probe to orbit and investigate Ceres at close range. It is currently spiraling into a lower obit but has already returned some fascinating images of the surface. 

If you want to try your luck at spotting the dwarf planet, you’ll need at least a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to see this tiny world. Using Psi and Omega Capricornii might be a good starting point for your search, but look carefully as it only ever appears as a star-like point and may be easily confused with the stars in the area.

(Click on an image to enlarge. Adapted from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.)

Map courtesy of Mobile Observatory. Photograph taken by the Dawn spacecraft at a distance of 8,400 miles. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

 

 

05:10 UT – The waxing gibbous Moon passes Antares. (Naked eye, Scorpius, evening sky.)

09:19 UT – Dwarf planet Ceres is at opposition. (Magnitude 7.3. Sagittarius, all night.)

The open star cluster M29 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 7.1. Cygnus, all night.)

 

 

Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) 2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac 2015-2019

2015: An Astronomical Year

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)

(Paperback)

Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com

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