July 5, 2022

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Początek astronomicznego lata 21 czerwca (fot. arch.PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski)

June 21 is the first day of astronomical summer

Astronomical summer will begin on Tuesday at 11:14 a.m. Summer nights are an opportunity to look up at the sky and admire the planets and other celestial bodies: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn line up in one line, and three bright stars called the Summer Triangle, or “star meteor.”

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The exact moment of the beginning of astronomical summer occurs at a time called the summer solstice and this season lasts until the autumnal equinox. On June 21, the first day of summer, the sun will rise above the Tropic of Cancer at its zenith. The end of summer and the beginning of autumn will fall on September 23 at 3.04.

The summer solstice is also the period of the longest days and the shortest nights. The length of the day and night varies depending on which part of Poland we are in. In the far north of our country, the longest day of the year will last 17 hours and 15 minutes, in the center – about 16 hours and 45 minutes, and in the southern suburbs of Poland – only 16 hours and 12 minutes. The rest of the day the night is short enough.

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On the shortest nights in the northern part of Poland, the sun hides only about 12 degrees below the horizon, which means that it is close to the so-called midnight sun, known from countries closer to the North Pole, such as Norway and Iceland.

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“falling stars”

However, despite the short nights, in the summer sky we can see many interesting things and astronomical phenomena. The most famous of them is the “Meteorite,” which scientists know as meteorites. These are phenomena that occur when a rock sample from space (meteor) falls into the Earth’s atmosphere and is damaged.

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However, if the rock is large enough, it can survive flying through the atmosphere and either strike the Earth’s surface to form a meteorite crater, or explode at some height, as happened over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013. Either way, what They are called meteorites.

Meteors can appear sporadically at random times, but there are also so-called meteor showers. During their activity, we can observe dozens, dozens, and sometimes more phenomena per hour. It seems that a swarm of meteors extending from one place in the sky is called radiant. The most famous meteor shower in summer is the Perseids, which are active from July 17 to August 24, and are usually maximum on the night of August 12-13. At that time, many astronomical outings were organized throughout the country, known as “star nights”.

Among the stars in the night sky, the Summer Triangle stands out. It is not a constellation, but an arrangement of stars called an asterism. It is distinguished by three very bright stars: Vega from the constellation Lute, Deneb from the constellation Cygnus and Altair from the constellation Eagle. The Summer Triangle covers a large area in the sky and can be seen throughout the summer night.

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When and where do you see the planets of the solar system?

We can also see planets in the summer sky. We can try to spot Mercury first in the morning, and from the second half of July to early August and September in the evening, shortly after sunset. The flower will not be visible this summer. Mars begins to rise in the second half of the night, and will rise slowly earlier and earlier. At the end of summer, Mars will rise at around 9 p.m.

The most visible planets will be Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in the Solar System. You will be able to admire them for a good part of the night. While at the beginning of summer, Jupiter will rise around midnight, by the end of this season it will be around sunset. On the other hand, the sunrise on Saturn will occur about an hour earlier than on Jupiter.

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These planets can be seen with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune will also be available for observing owners of telescopes.

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The three planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, will long be aligned in one line, even though they are far from each other. However, around mid-August, the distances between Mars, Jupiter, Jupiter, and Saturn will be similar. In addition, the moon will pass along this line several times, which will make the view especially interesting.

The full moon in July will coincide with the next perigee of its orbit this year (the closest distance to Earth), which means that we will then see the largest and brightest supermoon or supermoon. Such a situation will happen on July 13.
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In July, our planet is at the aphelion point of its orbit, the farthest point from the sun. July 4th at 9:11 am we will have a distance of 152.098 million kilometers from our star. This clearly indicates that the cycle of the seasons on Earth is not related to distance from the Sun (the orbit is so close to a circular orbit that it has a significant effect), while the changes are due to the tilt of our planet’s axis of rotation relative to the plane of the orbit (along with the orbital motion around the Sun ).


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