The astronomical summer of 2022 is upon us, long days and short nights are upon us – News

The exact moment of the beginning of the astronomical summer falls on the time of the so-called summer solstice and that season lasts until the autumnal equinox. On the first day of summer, the sun towers over the Tropic of Cancer at its peak. The end of summer and the beginning of fall fall on September 23 at 3:04 a.m.

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 northernmost parts of our country, the longest day of the year lasts 17 hours and 15 minutes, in the center – about 16 hours and 45 minutes, and on the southern outskirts of Poland – only 16 hours and 12 minutes. The rest of the day is a sufficiently short night.

Astronomical summer. Long days and short nights

On the shortest nights in northern Poland, the sun hides only about 12 degrees below the horizon, meaning it’s close to the so-called midnight sun, known from countries closer to the North Pole, such as Norway and Iceland.

However, despite the short nights, we can see many interesting astronomical objects and phenomena in the summer sky. The most famous are “shooting stars”, which scientists call meteors. These are phenomena that occur when a rock from space (meteoroid) falls into the Earth’s atmosphere and is destroyed. However, if the rock is large enough, it can survive flight through the atmosphere and either hit the Earth’s surface to form a meteorite crater or explode at some height, as it did in 2013 over Chelyabinsk, Russia. In both cases the so-called meteorites.

Meteors can appear sporadically at random times, but there are also so-called meteor showers. During their activity we can observe a dozen, several dozen and sometimes even more phenomena per hour. A swarm’s meteors appear to extend from one spot in the sky called a radiant. The most famous summer meteor shower is the Perseids, active from July 17 to August 24 and usually peaking during the night of August 12-13. During that time, numerous astronomical picnics, known as “nights of shooting stars”, are organized throughout the country.

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Astronomical summer. Visible planets in the sky

The Summer Triangle stands out among the stars in the night sky. It is not a constellation, but an arrangement of stars called asterism. It is marked 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 is visible all summer night.

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 evenings, shortly after sunset. Venus will not be visible this summer. Mars will begin to rise in the second half of the night and will slowly rise earlier and earlier. At the end of summer, Mars will rise around 9 p.m.

The most visible will be Jupiter and Saturn, the largest planets in the solar system. You can admire them for a large part of the night. While Jupiter’s sunrise will be around midnight at the beginning of summer, it will be nearly sunset by the end of this season. Saturn’s sunrise, on the other hand, will occur about an hour before Jupiter.

These planets can be seen with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune will also be available for observation by telescope owners.

The three planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, will align for a long time, although quite far apart. However, around mid-August, the distances between Mars and Jupiter and Jupiter and Saturn will be similar. In addition, the moon will pass along this line a few times, which makes the view particularly interesting.

Full moon in summer

The July Full Moon coincides with the next perigee of its orbit this year (the shortest distance from Earth), meaning we’ll see the largest and brightest supermoon or superfull moon. Such a situation will take place on 13 July.

By the way, it is worth noting that in July our planet is in the aphelion of its orbit, ie the point furthest from the sun. July 4 at On November 9, we have a distance of 152.098 million km from our star. This clearly shows that the cycle of the seasons on Earth is not related to the distance from the sun (the orbit is too close to a circular orbit to have a significant effect), but that the changes are caused by the inclination of our planet’s axis of rotation relative to the plane of the orbit (along with the orbital motion around of the sun).


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