Featured Image: Antares
July 2020 has the Summer skies in full swing! By the time it finally gets dark at night, the the Summer Triangle, Summer Milky Way, and other celestial features are visible in the sky, just in time to enjoy features like the Hercules Cluster and Ring Nebula.
What are those two bright stars rising in the southeast after dark? It’s Jupiter and Saturn! They are both in apparent retrograde (shifting backwards) in their positions across the sky due to Earth “lapping” them in their orbits, and will be about 5-7 degrees apart in the sky.
Full Moon (Buck Moon): July 5
Last Quarter Moon: July 12
New Moon: July 20
First Quarter Moon: July 27
Scorpius is my favorite of the Summer constellations. It’s one of the two zodiac constellations that are the most southern. It’s also a bright constellation, so even places with moderate light pollution can still show the entire constellation, from the three stars representing the head and claws, to the bright red star “Antares” representing the heart, and the rest of the stars forming the tail and stinger. It’s one of those formations that actually look just like the pictures.
Because of how south the tail dips, places further north of the 40th parallel may not see the entire tail due to haze above the horizon.
Any Notable Celestial Events?
Moon Jupiter and Saturn Triangle 3 – July 5,6
Since all three objects will be near opposition throughout the entire night, you can see another triangle formation between the three objects. Rating: Notable – This is the THIRD of SIX meetings between the three objects. A full moon paired with both planets will look nice to the naked eye.
Jupiter and Saturn Oppositions – July 14, July 20
Jupiter and Saturn will be close to one another in the sky, and continue approaching each other as the year progresses. Jupiter’s opposition is on the 14th, while Saturn’s opposition will be on the 20th. Around this time is where they will be at their biggest and brightest for the year, and it will be the best time to view the two planets individually through a telescope. Need an excuse to get your telescope out? This is it! Rating: Impressive – due to both planets being in opposition around the same time.
Can You Just Tell Me Where the Planets Are Visible?
Mercury: Lost in the Sun’s glare for the early half of July, then visible low over the eastern horizon in the predawn skies after the 15th….
Venus: Will be visible as “that bright star” you see in the east before dawn… for the next 8 months it will be an early bird exclusive… On July 12, it will be closely paired with Aldebaran, and make a good photographic target.
Earth: is not flat!
Mars: In the Constellation Pisces – Rises after midnight on July 1, and about 11:10 pm local time by July 31. It will be best viewed high in the southern sky during the pre dawn hours.
Jupiter: In the constellation Sagittarius – It will be easily spotted after dark low in the east, and will best be viewed high in the sky around midnight throughout the month. Opposition Date – July 14
Saturn: In the constellation Sagittarius – It will be easily spotted after dark low in the east, and will best be viewed high in the sky around midnight throughout the month. Opposition Date – July 20
Uranus: In the constellation Aries – It won’t be visible in the sky until after midnight throughout the month, and will best be viewed in the east before dawn.
Neptune: In the constellation Aquarius – Rising before midnight July 1/ 10pm July 31, it will be best viewed in the morning sky.
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