Welcome to Umpqua Astronomers of Douglas County


Astronomy enthusiasts of Douglas county gather for monthly meeting the second Tuesday of each month



The next UA meeting is July 13th at 7 p.m. PDT ONLINE ONLY. Please ask for Zoom Link and password to join the monthly meetings. Call UCC P. Morgan Observatory phone 541-440-4719 --leave a message for a return call.

July Star Gazing

Evening Twilight: Venus and Mars dance about Cancer and Leo

Look tonight toward the west-northwest horizon, a few minutes after sunset, to spy brilliant Venus.  Grab your binoculars and seek out dim Mars as twilight darkens a bit. Look for the Red World as a dim “star” about 9 degrees above and to the left of bright Venus. Mars and Venus will gather less than a moon-width after midmonth. This planetary dance will be a challenge to observe unless you have a low and unobstructed western horizon.

On the Fourth of July, Mars sits 5 degrees above and left of Venus. Each night, Mars sinks a bit lower as Venus slips sideways toward the east. Watch on July 11th as an ultra-thin crescent moon join the planetary duo. Find Venus, then look 4 degrees right to spot the slender moon.  Mars will sit less than a degree to the left of Venus. Get out your camera to catch this photogenic trio. Carefully observe Mars and Venus the next two nights. On July 12th, Venus will sit slightly more than a moon width to the upper right of dim Mars. On the 12th, Mars reaches its most distant point from the sun (aphelion) at 155 million miles and 231 million miles from earth. On the next night, Venus sits atop Mars by less than a moon width for the closest conjunction of this dance. Each night thereafter, Mars slips lower and Venus hangs in place while sliding to the left. By July 16th, Mars will be more than 2 degrees to the lower right of Venus.

Our sister world next takes aim at the brightest star in the constellation Leo, Regulus.  On July 19th, Venus is only 2 ½ degrees to the lower right of Regulus. Each night, Regulus drops a bit, as Venus maintains altitude.  Use your binoculars to move from bright Venus to much dimmer Regulus. On July 20th, Venus is only 1 ½ degrees below Regulus and closes to within a degree on the 21st. Mars and Regulus also dance together on July 27 through July 30th.  Look about 9 ½ degree below and to the right of Venus on the 27th to spot Regulus about 1 ¼ degrees to the left of Mars.  Regulus will be the brighter of this duo. Mars sits above Regulus less than ½ degree apart on July 29th.

Saturn and Jupiter climb into the Evening sky

Tonight, before midnight, Saturn and Jupiter will be easy to spot in the east-southeast sky. Each week Saturn and Jupiter will rise about 30 minutes earlier. By mid-month, Saturn will rise less than an hour after sunset as the sky begins to darken. Jupiter follows about an hour after Saturn. By month’s close, Saturn rises as the sun sets; while Jupiter can be seen as the sky darkens.

Pre-Dawn:  Mercury in the morning

Tomorrow morning, Mercury rises about an hour before the sunrise. Look to the east northeast with your binoculars to spot a dim Mercury. About 7 degrees above and to the right, will be a somewhat brighter star, Aldebaran of Taurus.  Mercury climbs a bit each night until reaching a maximum altitude on July 9th and 10th.  Mercury rapidly loses altitude and is lost in the sunrise’s glare before the 3rd week of July.  Predawn stargazers can not only enjoy Mercury in the morning but also find Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn.

Call UCC Observatory and leave a message  to get on the zoom list 541-440-4719


All UA in person Events Cancelled.

Umpqua Astronomers is a participating in the Astronomical League. This provides members with a quarterly national magazine, "the Reflector" and many observing project to help beginners to use a hands on approach to learn about astronomy. Umpqua Astronomers  is an active member of the Night Sky network , International Astronomical Union programs, the Global Astronomy Month, and  the International Observe the Moon program .  Club members are encouraged and supported in becoming comfortable learning and exploring the night sky.

Umpqua Astronomers are an active supporting partner of U.C.C.'s Paul Morgan Observatory. Club stargazing events are held at the observatory during spring to fall months.   Link to   Morgan Observatory website

All PMO events are cancelled due to the Novel Corona virus Covid 19