If you are a sky gazer or just love astronomy, July night sky is going to offer you a very unique opportunity! Be it a double meteor shower, a double planetary opposition, or even the penumbral eclipse, July has a very busy sky schedule. While the 5th July Eclipse has just passed us, there is still a lot to look forward too. Read on to know when each of the planets will be visible from the Earth and how you can witness their beauty.
Mercury in the July Night Sky
Having recently passed the Sun in its inferior solar conjunction, you will have to wait a bit to catch a glimpse of Mercury in the July night sky. As the degree of separation increases between the planet and the Sun, on 23rd July, Mercury will be visible from Earth at mag 0.1. This is when the planet will be at its greatest western elongation. Then on the 26th, it will be at its highest point. Mercury will be located in the Gemini constellation, shining bright in the East at mag 0.1, just before sunrise.
Venus is reclaiming its ‘morning star’ title and will be at its brightest on 8th July. It will be on the eastern side, at mag -4.5 in the Taurus constellation. If you get up a couple hours before sunrise, you can easily spot the planet. It will reach its peak in the morning sky in September.
Mars in the July Night Sky
Mars will be rather dull compared to the other planets. It will appear as a tiny speck of light in the higher parts of the sky just before sunrise. Mars will be in mag -0.7 in Cetus and on 12th July, the Moon will pass close by.
The mighty planet will soon be in opposition on the 14th of July. An opposition is a time when another planet aligns with the Earth and the Sun on a straight line, with Earth standing in the middle. Positioned at mag -2.7, Jupiter will shine brightest on the 14th when it is nearest to our planet. You can spot the gas planet in the dark hours between sunset and midnight.
Saturn in the July Night Sky
Saturn will grace our July night sky the brightest on 21st July when it is in opposition. On this special day, Saturn will be 50 million miles closer to Earth than the average distance. If you want to witness this beautiful planet, look up in the east after 21:00. Saturn will be in Sagittarius at mag 0.1 and will reach the peak after midnight.
Uranus and Neptune
Uranus has recently crossed its solar conjunction and will be visible to the naked eye just after midnight. It will be at mag 5.84, in Aries.
Neptune is just emerging from behind the Sun. You can spot this blue planet around 23:00 at mag 7.87.
So sky gazers, start preparing for a long and stunning month that will offer spectacular views of the planets in our Solar System. Don’t miss the July night sky spectacles!
All images: Dominic Ford, in-the-sky & mkarco