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Wonders of the July Night Sky

8 Jul 2013, 11:12 UTC
Wonders of the July Night Sky
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Now that summertime in the Northern hemisphere is in full swing a whole new batch of constellations can be seen in the south. Although the ‘late birds’ among us will be rewarded with the best viewings in the little hours after midnight, the opportunity to add these less well-known patterns to your checklist ought to make a few moments of stargazing worth the effort.
Thanks to our planet’s rotation the darker stargazing hour of midnight will present star patterns Ophiuchus and Serpens as having shifted a little toward the west. (Image credit: Stellarium/Nick Parke)

Rising sufficiently high above the horizon for you to see most if not all of its stars, at 10pm Ophiuchus “The Healer and Surgeon” lies almost due south during July. This son of Apollo, also known as Aesclepius was born to a one-parent family and mostly raised by Chiron the centaur who taught him the ways of medicine. With an inverted ‘shield-like’ pattern and one protruding limb from the bottom right-hand corner considered sufficient to define the ‘Father of Medicine’ in the heavens, the remaining points of light running diagonally upwards on either side of the constellation actually belong to a separate constellation, that ...

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