What’s up in the sky this month? Learn about the planet positions, moon’s phases and important astronomy events in the month of July.
July 6: Earth at aphelion
Earth will be at it’s maximum distance from the Sun, this year, on july 6. The aphelion distance of 94,507,803 miles (152,095,566 km) is 1.67% farther from the sun than the mean Earth-sun separation of 92,955,807.3 miles (149,597,870.7 km), which is also known as 1 Astronomical Unit (AU).
July 7: Venus dates Regulus
The ‘Evening Star’ Venus will have a close encounter with the brightest star of Leo, Regulus. They are due west at nightfall.
July 10: Jupiter stands still
On Tuesday, July 10, Jupiter will cease its motion through the distant stars as it completes its retrograde cycle that started in March this year. After tonight, the gas giant will resume its regular eastward motion in the sky.
July 12: Mercury at Elongation
The smallest planet will be farthest from Sun in the evening. It looks like a fairly bright star quite low in the west as darkness falls.
July 12: New Moon
July 12 also marks the new moon of this month. Grab the excellent opportunity to spot the band of Milky Way across the sky in the moon-less night.
July 12: Partial Solar Eclipse
The third important event on July 12 is the partial solar eclipse across the Antarctic Ocean south of Australia and Tasmania. Greatest eclipse will occur on the coast of Antarctica at 03:01:07 UT, at which only 23% of the Sun will be obscured.
July 14: Moon meets Mercury
The fresh crescent moon will have a close encounter with the tiny planet this evening. The planet will become easier to see as the sky grows darker.
July 15: Moon between Venus and Jupiter
The crescent moon will be sandwiched between the brightest planets Venus and Jupiter. The Moon will sit 1.5° west(right) of Venus and 4.5° east (upper left) of Jupiter.
July 19: First Quarter Moon
The eastern side of the moon will be half illuminated. The quarter moon always rises in the noon and hence it is visible in the afternoon daytime sky.
July 20: Gibbous Moon near Jupiter
The waxing gibbous moon will be positioned 3 degrees above Jupiter.
July 24: Moon dates Saturn
The Moon will sit 2 degrees to the upper right of the ringed planet in the south eastern sky when the moon rises. They will cross the sky together and will be close enough to fir together in the binoculars and telescopes of low magnification.
July 27: Total Lunar Eclipse and the Full Thunder Moon
The July full moon is known as the Thunder Moon or the Hay Moon that shines in or near the stars of Sagittarius or Capricornus. The total lunar eclipse will be visible over Africa, the Middle East, India and the Western Australia. North America will not see any portion of this eclipse. At greatest eclipse, Moon will be sitting 6 degrees north of Mars.
July 27: Mars at Opposition
At 1 a.m. EDT, the Earth will move between Sun and Mars. This evening is the best one to observe the Red Planet as the apparent magnitude (brightness) will peak at -2.8.
July 28 pre-dawn: Southern Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks:
The shower will generate 15-20 meteors per hour at the peak
July 31: Mars at Closest Approach
Although Mars was at opposition on the night of July 27, it will make its closest approach on July 31, when it will be 57.6 million Km from Earth. It won’t be this close again until 2035.