The Fourth of July sky: Here's what you can see on Independence Day


Oct 22, 2019
I did enjoy some summer stargazing last night (03-July) before Independence Day.

Observed 2100-2215 EDT. Sunset 2035 EDT. First Quarter Moon 07-July-2022 0214 UT. I used 10x50 binoculars and 90-mm refractor telescope with TeleVue 40-mm plossl for 25x views and true FOV ~ 108 arcminutes. Waxing crescent Moon lovely with much earthshine visible in Leo and plenty of crater detail visible at 25x along the terminator line. Virtual Moon Atlas shows the Moon’s angular size tonight about 30.26 arcminute. Later in the evening I could see Antares and M4 together in same FOV at 25x and with 10x50 binoculars. According to Stellarium angle mode, the two are separated by about 78 arcminutes in their sky positions. At 25x, I could see both together with other faint stars and even fainter, NGC 6144 globular cluster. Stellarium angle mode shows just a bit more than 38 arcminute angular separation from Antares in Scorpius. Just a faint, tiny fuzzy (about 5 arcminute angular size). M4 at 25x, I could see some outer halo stars visible near 2200 EDT. Nu Scorpii nearly 41 arcseconds apart (the easier pair to see), an easy double star at 25x in the telescope view. A very lovely target was M8 in Sagittarius. 10x50 binocular views were pleasing. At 25x using the telescope, even better. This is the Lagoon Nebula, excellent in my 10-inch Newtonian. Quite a sound of fireworks tonight all around. Sky clear, temperature 21C, winds calm. Near 2130 EDT, a fox was barking in the fields to the east of my position, loudly.


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