West Rand Astronomy Club


29 July 2015 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  • Presentation By:  Derck Smits
  • Topic: Variable Stars RRLyraepulsating Stars and Eclipsing Binaries
  • July Night Sky News and Events

Cost: Donation of R10 for the use of the venue which includes tea and coffee.

Telescopes will be set up for viewing (weather permitting). Members are encouraged to bring along telescopes, you can bring along observation sheets and any of your favourite astronomy books for discussion. Ask questions, share information and enjoy!

 11 July 2015 from Sundown:


171 Bartlett Street, Honingklip. (Not far from the Silver Casino).

  • Co ordinates: 26 01 12 S….27 47 93 E    -26.018810 , 27.798910
  • New members welcome. Bring own meat and salads, drinks (Please limit the alcohol), cutlery, crockery and a chair.
  • If weather looks suspect please check WRAC website from 3:15pm. on the Saturday to confirm if stargazing is still on.

18 July 2015:

Star Party Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden:

On Saturday 18 July you are invited to join us on a lovely stargazing evening in the garden!

The Bankenveld Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa have arranged a wonderful evening of stargazing in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden on the main lawn, and everyone is welcome.

West Rand Astronomy Club members will bring along telescopes for viewing the wonder of the night skies and tell you all about what you are looking at. So come along, immerse yourself in the news, views and delights of the night.

A talk/slideshow about our night skies will be given by Jerome Jooste of ASSA Johannesburg, in the Imbizo Centre, starting at 6pm.

Remember to dress warmly, bring blankets and chairs and a picnic basket.

Event Fees: R60 per adult. Under 6 years – Free.

BotSoc members: Free

All members with telescopes, please bring along your telescope and arrive at 17H00 to set it up for visitors to view through.Those with telescopes must drive through the top gate to enter.Those who do not wish to bring their telescopes will enter as normal members of the public and are subject to entrance fees.

On Line Shopping and walk in shop



What Did Galileo Invent?
by Matt Williams

Galileo is considered one of the greatest astronomers of all time. His discovery of Jupiter’s major moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) revolutionized astronomy and helped speed the acceptance of the Copernican Model of the universe. However, Galileo is also known for the numerous scientific inventions he made during his lifetime.
These included his famous telescope,  also a series of devices that would have a profound impact on surveying, the use of artillery, the development of clocks, and meteorology. Galileo created many of these in order to earn extra money to support his family. But ultimately, they would help cement his reputation as the man who challenged centuries worth of previously-held notions and revolutionized the sciences.

Watch  JUPITER this month and the four moons closest to Jupiter. The names of these four moons follow in the order closest from Jupiter. Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.


New Horizons Flyby to Icy Dwarf Planet Pluto

New Horizons Pluto ‘flyby’ is still on course. Over the early days of July, Saturday the 4th. new Horizons went into safe mode and no scientific details were forthcoming, however, all is back  on track again and the first ever visit to Pluto and its moons takes place in the form of a fly by on July 14.



Image converted using ifftoany

Image converted using ifftoany


Sunrise and Sunset:

July 2015              Sunrise                 Sunset                Day Length

1   July 2015                6:56                       17:27                    10:31:19

10 July 2015                6:56                       17:31                     10:35:19

20 July 2015               6:53                       17:35                     10:42:26

31  July 2015               6:48                       17:41                     10:52:59

The length of day increases by 1:03 in this month.

• Never look at the sun without proper protection.

• Looking at the sun through a telescope or binoculars without the necessary through a telescope or binoculars without the necessary equipment or protection Will Blind You.

Moon in July:

  • Full moon                            2 July            at 04:20
  • New Moon                          16 July           at 03:24

On 2nd July the sky will be filled with the light of the moon. This is a great opportunity to get out and have a look at the moon. use your moon filter and do some full moon photography.



Planets in July:

Three of the five visible, naked eye planets are in good view in March this year.

  • Venus and Jupiter:  are in good view in July shining visibly first thing at nightfall and will be inclosest conjunction from 30 June until about 27 August
  • Venus:  An orb of brilliance can be seen fairlylow in the west from dusk to late evening. Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon.
  • Jupiter:  Jupiter shines brightly from dusk for a short while, but, being very close to Venus, it seems somewhat faint and distant. However, it is the second brightest plant after Venus.
  • Saturn:  One should be able to observe Saturn fairly well in the East, lying  close to Scorpio at the moment.
  • Mercury: The innermost planet nearest the sun will be best seen early in July about an hour before sunrise and low in the east  and around 5 July one can see Messier 1 or the Crab Nebula situated just below Mercury. 24′

SaturnSaturn was photographed by Neil Viljoen using an iPhone 6 and holding it to the eyepiece of a 6″ refractor telescope.


 Deep-sky objects:

Globular clusters:                                   Nebulae:                                                         Open Cluster:

Messier 4  globular cluster in Scorpius    B59 Sink Hole dark nebula in Ophiuchus     Ptolemy’s cluster in scorpius

NGC 5823 in Circinus

NGC 6025  in Tri.Aust.

NGC 6067 in Norma


 Meteor Showers:

Visibility or the observing prospect is  unfavourable to poor. Probably due to insufficient light being produced on de-excitation and less ionic processes, so the meteor may not be observed visually. There are the: July Phoenicids, Piscis Australids, the Aquarids and the  Capricornids between July 13 and July 30 to be observed. The possibility is that meteors will be few and far between so one would have to excercise much patience.



For July there is not very much excitement with regard to comets in the southern sky but we can advise of:

C/2014 Q1 Panstarrs. This is in solar conjunction at magnitude 4 but could reach magnitude 5 in mid July evening skies.


 Satellite movement:

Satellite movement can be viewed on:



What to see in Scorpio our winter constellation. Double stars: beta Scorpii and Graffias mag. 3. There is: Open clusters: NGC6231, M7 and M6 Globular clusters:M4. M80, NGC 6388  and NGC 6441.

All your photographs are uploadable on our WRAC website and your photos are memories worth keeping, so share happiness with others.



Astronomy brings out a thirst for more knowledge and with it comes the thought that life is an opportunity. Quoting R.A. Feuer, “indeed a constant cycle of rediscovery in which we shed our relative ignorance of the past”, striving to learn more of the universe to understand life on Earth.

Starry side up! and warm thoughts.


West Rand Astronomy Club

Regards Wrac.