Prepare for the August eclipse by observing the moon phases this month. Plus, two meteor showers peak at the end of the month.


What's Up for July? Prep for the August solar eclipse by observing the moon's phases. Plus, catch 2 meteor showers.

Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Solar eclipses occur when the new moon passes between Earth and the sun and the moon casts a traveling shadow on Earth.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the new moon is in the right position to exactly cover the sun's disk. This will happen next month when the new moon will completely block our view of the sun along a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina.

During August's total solar eclipse it may be dark enough to see some of the brighter stars and a few planets!

Two weeks before or after a solar eclipse there's often, but not always, a lunar eclipse. But it's not necessarily a total lunar eclipse. This will happen because the moon will be at opposition. The full moon and Earth and the sun will be lined up with Earth in the middle.

We can see all the moon's phases beginning on July 1st, when the first quarter moon rises at noon and sets at midnight. Even through binoculars you'll see craters and some of the prominent mare or "seas." Many of the Apollo landing sites are located on the lit side of the first quarter moon. To see the landing sites, though, you'll have to rely on photographs taken by lunar orbiting spacecraft.

On July 9th the full moon rises at sunset and sets at dawn.

July 16 is the last quarter. It rises at midnight and doesn't set until noon allowing you to enjoy a nice moon view in the morning sky.

The new moon occurs July 23. The new moon is the phase we'll look forward to in August when it'll give us that total solar eclipse.

July will end with another first quarter moon phase on the 30th.

Finally, we have two good meteor showers this month, both peaking on the morning of July 30. The southern Delta Aquarids have a maximum rate of 25 meteors per hour between midnight and dawn. The nearby slow and bright

Alpha Capricornids peak at 5 per hour and often produce fireballs.

You can catch up on all of NASA's missions at:

And learn all about the eclipse at:

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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