Society News and Night Sky Notes – July 1998

Society News Headlines

  • July 1st – New Comet discoveredComet 1998 m6 (Montani)
  • July 1st – NASA instruments on Japanese spacecraft Planet-B to study Mars atmosphere.
  • July 1st – Still no good news on the recovery of the SOHO spacecraft.
  • July 1st – NASA to cut Mars rover from 2001 mission spacecraft.
  • July 1st – Astronomers on Hawaii have discovered a new type of asteroid – 1998 DK36.
  • July 2nd – X-Ray image of a transit of Mercury (November 1993).
  • July 2nd – Lava on Jupiter’s moon IO is really hot stuff.
  • July 2nd – Astronomers find new information on Gammer-ray bursts using 20 year results.
  • July 3rd – MIR space station for early retirement in June 1999.
  • July 3rd – Public Open Night at the Pex Hill Observatory. 8pm – 10pm.
  • July 3rd – Venus 4° North of Aldebaran.
  • July 4th – Japan successful launches spacecraft Planet-B to Mars. Japanese Space Agency NASDA
  • July 4th – Earth at aphelion (furthest from the Sun) 1.016697 AU.
  • July 5th – Yet more outer solar system planets discovered. Two new ones found. One of which orbits the star 14 Herculis.
  • July 6th – New research into why layers of sodium appear in the upper atmosphere.
  • July 7th – Russian Submarine launches German Satellite TUBSAT-N
  • July 7th – Two Japanese satellites dock in Earth Orbit.. Details Here
  • July 7th – One Million camp sites being prepared for the Cornwall Total Solar Eclipse in August next year.
  • July 7th – STARDUST name count passes 500,000 mark.
  • July 8th – Capricornids meteor shower first of three max. Other dates 15th and 26th.
  • July 8th – NASA’s X-Observatory spacecraft completes space environment tests.
  • July 8th – Two JPL scientists selected as shuttle astronaut candidates.
  • July 8th – USA senate vote to cancel International Space Station fails.
  • July 8th – International team of astronomers have discovered a ring of dust around star Epsilon Eridani
  • July 8th – Final crew to the Russian Space Station MIR will be launched in February 1998.
  • July 9th – U.S. loses starring role in astronomy.
  • July 9th – Mars Global Surveyor gives new detailed views of Elysium Mons Volcano.
  • July 9th – Pluto occultationof 14.7 mag star P42 at 23h:20m:25s BST.
  • July 10th – Members Evening at the Pex Hill Observatory. 8pm – 10pm.(all night if clear).
  • July 10th – Was it a bright meteor or plan “Z” from outer space?.
  • July 10th – Neptune 2° South of Moon.
  • July 11th – Work begins to raise funds for the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • July 11th – Uranus 3° South of Moon.
  • July 11th – Astronomers find quaking Neutron Star.
  • July 12th – Comet Arend-Rigaux at perihelion – (1.371 AU).
  • July 12th – Three members of the team that developed the German V rockets have died.
  • July 14th – Jupiter 1° North of Moon.
  • July 14th – NASA establishes near-earth object program office.
  • July 14th – Amateur astronomers flock to use powerful telescope.
  • July 15th – Galileo Jupiter Probe returns news views of the Moon Ganymede.
  • July 15th – Rocket-assembly ship for sea launches arrives in home port.
  • July 16th – Leading scientists meeting to map out astrobiology strategy.
  • July 16th – New Images of LaNina weather problems.
  • July 17th – Saturn 2° North of Moon.
  • July 17th – Mercury at Eastern longation (27°).Poor evening apparition for Liverpool.
  • July 17th – SOHO spacecraft – hope yet but was it human error?.
  • July 18th – Jupiter is Stationary.
  • July 18th – Ceres 1.1° South of Moon.
  • July 19th – Aldebaran 0.3° South of Moon.
  • July 20th – Mars Society to obtain support for further exploration of the red planet.
  • July 20th – 29 years ago to-day it was “One small step”.
  • July 20th – Galileo spacecraft flyby’s Jupiter’s moon Europa for the 16th time.
  • July 20th – Case building for an expanding Universe.
  • July 21st – Planned Deep Space 1 spacecraft launch via Delta rocket.
  • July 21st – Alpha Cygnids meteor shower Max.
  • July 21st – Russians cut backs mean less work and spacewalks for current MIR crew.
  • July 21st – Venus 4° North of Moon.
  • July 21st – Reseachers in USA indicate that water is present to-day on the surface of Mars to support life.
  • July 21st – Lunar & Martian soil could provide radiation shielding on future space missions.
  • July 22nd – Russian space mirror plan “a big expensive mistake” say astronomers.
  • July 22nd – NASA reviews proposal to fly Mars airplane over surface in 2003.
  • July 22nd – Mars 5° North of Moon.
  • July 22nd – A millisecond Radar Pulsar called SAX J1808 4-3658 found to be spinning at one fifth the speed of light.
  • July 22nd – Reported that Galileo probe had computer problems during flyby of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
  • July 22nd – Pulsars steal star Material.Click Here.
  • July 22nd – Alan Shepard first American astronaut dies aged 74. 1923 – 1998 RIP.
  • July 22nd – HST takes images of nearby massive star cluster.
  • July 23rd – Neptune at opposition.
  • July 25th – Mercury 2° North of Moon.
  • July 25th – Regulus 0.7° North of Moon.
  • July 27th – New mirror for MMT will take to the road.
  • July 27th – 61st Meeting of the Meteoritical Society – Dublin Ireland. (Ends July 29th)
  • July 28th – 25th Anniversary (1973) of the Skylab-3 launch.
  • July 26th – Pallas stationary.
  • July 30th – Mercury stationary.
  • July 25th – SPA meeting at The University of Westminster at 14H:30m.
  • July 26th – Study into upper atmosphere Lighting Sprites bring results.
  • July 27th – SOHO spacecraft has been found with ground based radar. Spacecraft could now be recovered.
  • July 30th – Japanese Mars Spacecraft Nozomi takes images of Earth & Moon.
  • July 30th – Unraveling the Big Bang with a super computer.
  • July 29th – Delta Aquarids shower Max.
  • July 30th – Crew for next Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission begin training. Mission STS-104 is due for launch in May 2000.
  • July 31st – A clue to the Origin of Life.
  • July 31st – Star nursery spotted in the Milky Way.
  • July 31st – ESA could be in money problems in the near future.
  • July 31st – Uk scientists get their hands on a bit of Mars.


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service.
To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in BRITISH SUMMER TIME (BST). Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

           June 30th    July 5th    10th       15th       20th        25th          30th
SUNRISE    04:47        05:51       04:56      05:02      05:09       05:16         05:24
SUNSET     21:44        21:42       21:38      21:33      21:27       21:20         21:12
at 19h:44m
at 17h:02m
at 15h:15m
NEW MOONon 23rd
at 14h:44m
at 13h:06m



Mercury ends the rather poor evening apparition which started last month and swiftly heads towards next month’s inferior conjunction.


Venus, rising at 03h:00m in the middle of the month, passes very close to two stars at the feet of Gemini and close to another open star cluster (remember Venus passing the Pleiades last month?). On the 21st Venus lies 1°.5 south of M35 and between the 22nd and 24th passes 17′ north of eta and mu Geminorum. After this month Venus starts to head back towards the Sun.


Mars also lies in Gemini and also passes by eta and mu Geminorum, on the 11th and 14th respectively. On the 9th Mars passes just south of M35 but lies a mere 15° away from the Sun. It will be a couple of months before the red planet really starts to show again in the morning sky.
MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • Iris is at opposition on July 20th in Sagittarius Mag 8.9
  • Pallas is stationary in Pisces on July 26th at Mag 10.0
  • For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is approaching opposition and is showing a disk with an apparent diameter of 46″ by the end of the month. Compare this with a measly 33″ at the start of the year and you will see that it is time to get the telescopes out!

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn is also starting to become better placed for observation, rising before midnight at the end of July.


Uranus is at opposition next month and owners of telescopes maybe able to see a tiny disk using a high magnification. Uranus is bright enough to be visible in binoculars.

Neptune is much fainter than Uranus and is more of a challenge to locate and observe. It is at opposition on the 23rd.

Uranus Positions for the 1st July:
                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      20h:58m:37s           -17°:50':20"                   03h:32m             5.7

Neptune Positions for the 1st July:
                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      20h:14m:07s           -19°:30':24"                   02h:48m             7.9


Pluto can be found on the border of Ophiuchus and Scorpius, above and to the right of the mag 2.6 star Zeta Scorpii. The best time to look for the planet is around New Moon. The dates below will be a guide for planning observations.

Positions for June are when pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°.
DATE                      R.A.                   DEC                   TRANSIT TIME
July 10th              16h:21m:01s            -09°:03':20"                 22h:21m
July 20th              16h:20m:20s            -09°:05':44"                 21h:41m
July 30th              16h:19m:50s            -09°:08':49"                 21h:02m

Pluto is best seen between July 16th – 23rd.


  • Alpha-Cygnids on July 21st (6 per hour) Favourable Moon 26days old.
  • Capricornids on July 8th/15th and 26th Multiple radiant-(6 per hour):
    • 8th – Unfavourable/MOON 13days old.
    • 15th – Fairly favourable/MOON 21days old.
    • 26th – Favourable/MOON 3days old
  • Delta-Aquarids on July 28th and Aug 7th. Double radiant:
    • (20 per hour on 28th) Fairly Favourable/MOON 5days old.
    • (10 per hour on Aug 7th) Unfavourable/MOON 13days old


  • Comet 49P/Arend-Rigaux at Perihelion on July 12th at (1.37AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • July 11th at 01h:24m Reappearance of rho Capricorni