In Manx skies... July 2018 ~ compiled by Dave Storey


13th at 02.49h

First Quarter
19th at 19.53h

27th at 20.22h

Last Quarter
6th at 07.52h

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Note: All times are Universal Time (UT)
British Summer Time is now in force. Remember to add 1 hour to any times quoted here to get local IoM time.

There is a partial solar eclipse on 13th . Non of the eclipse is visible from the Isle of Man. Click here for details.

There is a total lunar eclipse on the 27
th . As seen from the IoM, the Moon rises at 20.18h (Azimuth 123°) and will be in total shadow. This should prove a very interesting observation! Will the Moon be visible? The Earth's shadow will start to leave the Moon's disc at 21.13h when the Moon will be 5° above the horizon. The umbral shadow leaves the western edge of the Moon at 22.19h with the Moon at an altitude of 11°. Penumbral shadow will have cleared the lunar disc by 23.28h. Click here for more details.

Solar Aphelion occurs on the 6
th at 16.15h (152,103,776km/94,512,905miles)


Solar activity is low with solar cycle 24 now in force.


Carrington's Solar Rotation number 2206 starts on the 9th at 20h38m16s.


Is visible in the evening soon after sunset during the first half of the month. It reaches greatest eastern elongation on the 12th when it will be 26° to the left of the Sun. The planet will be in bright twilight and low down in Manx skies this month, so it will be a difficult target to find.


Is found after sunset in the west shining very brightly at magnitude -4.1 to -4.3. On the evening of the 9
th, the planet will be seen 1° above the brightest star in Leo, Regulus. Use a pair of binoculars to see this close appulse of planet and star. On the evening of the 15th, the waxing crescent Moon will be 4° to the right of Venus.


Is at opposition on the 27th , low down in the south at midnight in Capricornus. At this time, Mars rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. The planet will only be 10° above the southern horizon at best, so as seen from IoM, the telescopic view will be somewhat degraded due to poor seeing conditions. At opposition, the planets disc will be as wide as 24 arc seconds and is better viewed from equatorial and southern skies. The Moon will be 6.3° north of Mars on the night of the 27th.


Will be low down in the south western skies after sunset, shining at magnitude -2.3 to -2.1. It resides in the constellation Libra throughout the month and moving in a retrograde direction (east to west) until the 11th when it momentarily becomes stationary before resuming a prograde (west to east) direction. The Moon (waxing phase, 61% illuminated) will be found just over 4° upper right of Jupiter on the evening of the 20th .

The Great Red Spot may be seen using a telescope in good seeing conditions. Using a light blue filter with an eyepiece will help. Opportunities to see the Great Red Spot from Mann occur on a regular basis. Click here for suitable dates and times.

As the moons orbit Jupiter, there are occasions when the shadow of the moons can be seen upon the surface of Jupiter and the moons can transit across Jupiter's disc. Also, the moons can be seen to be occulted or eclipsed by Jupiter. There are many events throughout the month. See periodicals such as the BAA Handbook, Astronomy Now and Sky at Night magazines for listings.

To help you identify the moons at any particular time, Sky and Telescope have a Java tool that will plot the moon positions. Click Here.


Can be found very low down in the southern skies during the month, residing in the constellation Sagittarius. It fades very slightly from magnitude 0.0 to +0.2 during the month. The rings are well presented towards Earth at a positive angle of 26° and should be a nice telescopic sight, although the image being degraded by the planets low altitude.

Titan (magnitude +8.6) will be seen west of the planet on 7th ,8th ,9th ,10th ,23rd ,24th ,25th and 26th . It will be east of the planet on 1st ,2nd ,15th ,16th ,17th and 18th .


Is at opposition on the 12th in Sagittarius shining at a very dim +14.4, so a large telescope will be required to see the planet. The dwarf planet makes a close approach (0.4 arc minute) to the star 50 Sagittarii on the 4th and should be used as a good opportunity to track down the planet. Pluto like the rest of the planets will be low down as seen from our shores.

Use the charts below to locate the planet buy star hoping through binoculars and then a telescope. The map shown is a wide angle view of the constellation Sagittarius. The red box is the zoomed in area as shown in medium star field chart link below. And another red box within the medium star field chart will get even closer when a telescope will be required to locate Pluto. Click on narrow field star chart link for the telescopic chart.

Medium Field Star Chart Link

Narrow Field Star Chart Link


alpha-Cygnids are active during July and August with two peaks; one in July and the other in August. The peak in July occurs on the 21st July when 5 meteors per hour (ZHR) will be seen. Radiant is at RA. 21h00m Dec. +48°

Capricornids are active during July and August with three peaks this month. The dates being 9th, 16th and 26th . Like the aplha-Cygnids, the showers are weak with only 5 meteors per hour (ZHR). These meteors can display yellow-blue colours. Radiant is at RA. 20h44m Dec. -15°

delta-Aquarids are active from 15th July to 20th August. Two peaks occur, one on July 29th and another in August. The peak this month will be 20 meteors per hour (ZHR) and situated at radiant RA. 22h36m Dec. -17°. These meteors are usually faint.

Alpha-Capricornids are active from July 15th to 20th August. Peak activity occurring on the nights 2nd - 3rd August. Radiant is at RA. 20h36m Dec. -10°

iota-Aquarids can be seen during July and August with a peak due in August. This is another weak shower with only 8 meteors per hour (ZHR) at peak. Radiant is at RA. 22h10m Dec. -15°

The Perseids become active during this month and can be seen from the 23rd. Peak activity occurring in August. This shower produces some bright, fast meteors.

(Stars Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)

Date Time            ZC#    SAO#           Magnitude. P.A.  Type of event.    Notes

2nd    01.48:56      3171      164560         +3.7         184° RD             gamma Cap. D*

For very detailed list of occultations visible this month, click here. Data from Occult Software)

Times are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.

ZC = Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. RB = Reappearance on bright limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees is west.
D* = Double Star M*=Multiple Star.

Noctilucent clouds

Noctilucent clouds have been seen from the Isle of Man since June. Look due north low down to the horizon to see these night time glowing clouds. These clouds are at very high altitudes, around 80 km high and it is this high altitude that makes them glow with sunlight illuminating them from below the northern horizon. On the Spaceweather.comweb site, there is a graphic showing showing latest observations from AIM
 satellite, sent up to investigate these mysterious clouds.


This star drops from magnitude +2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. There are no suitable events visible this month. Click here for a star chart for Algol.


There are no predicted bright comets this month.


The international Space Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the next ten days, visit the link below.

ISS transit Information from Heavens

Bibliography for Manx Night Skies

The Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2018. BAA. 2017
2018 Stargazing. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest. Philip's 2017
2018 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion. Collins 2017
Yearbook of Astronomy 2018. Brian Jones/Richard Pearson. Pen & Sword White Owl. 2017

Observer's Handbook Meteors. Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop. Collins. 2005
Constellations. Josef Klepešta and Antonin Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick Moore. The Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing. Robin Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
Norton's 2000.0 Edited Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical. 1989

Planetary data derived from Guide 9 Software.
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium and Guide 9 Software.