The first dawn of the month is marked by the presence of Venus next to Aldebarã, the eye of the constellation Taurus. This planet will gradually move towards the east, reaching the feet of the constellation Gemini in the last third of the month.
Mercury is another planet that will be visible at dawn, but only until the ninth, and this star will return only in the late afternoon of the twenty-fifth.
On the morning of Saint Isabel (IV) our planet will reach aphelion: the point of orbit farthest from the sun. But since the northern hemisphere faces the sun these days, more solar radiation reaches our country than it did at perihelion (the closest approach of the Earth to the sun) six months ago.
At dawn on the seventh day, the crescent will be erected next to Purima, a binary star system located on the left shoulder of the constellation Virgo. After three dawn, the moon will appear next to Antares, which is a red giant star and is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpio (hence it is also called Alpha Scorpii).
On the morning of the 13th, the moon reaches the point of its closest orbit to Earth (perihelion). For this reason, the full moon that will occur at the end of that afternoon will be slightly larger (about 10%) than usual: it is the so-called supermoon.
At the end of the fifteenth we will witness the birth of the moon next to Saturn in the constellation Capricorn, while at the dawn of the nineteenth it will be born next to the planet Saturn.
The waning quarter will occur on the 20th day next to the constellation Pisces. A day later, the moon will pass in front of Mars, but due to the time of the event, this ephemeris will not be observed from Portugal. Similarly, in the early morning of the 22nd, the moon will pass in front of the planet Uranus. Finally, at the end of dawn on the 26th, the moon will appear next to the constellation Gemini.
The last relevant ephemeris for this month is the peak of the Delta Aquarids stellar shower activity, the night of the 28th. Although this ephemeris coincides with the new moon, even in the best hypotheses within an hour, you wouldn’t be able to observe more than a dozen of these tiny remnants of Comet 96P/Machholz.
* Fernando J. Pinheiro is a Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Coimbra’s Faculty of Science and Technology and at CITEUC – University of Coimbra’s Earth and Space Research Center.
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