Skywatch: Early-rising Saturn leads July’s planetary parade

Placeholder while article actions are loading

Against a star-studded backdrop for July, a string of visible planets enter our skies late, treats for morning watchers. We get a little closer, bigger full Moon in the middle of the month, and at the end of the month we can see a few meteors.

Saturn the parade of planetary activity as it now rises begins at nearly 11 p.m. in the east-southeast. Find the large gaseous ringed planet sandwiched between the constellations Aquarius and Ibex† With a brightness of +0.5 magnitude, the ringed planet brightens slightly in July as it moves toward opposition (where Soil is between the Sun and Saturn) on Aug. 14, according to the US Naval Observatory. Saturn rises much earlier in the second half of July – around 9:30 p.m.

The giant Jupiter now rising for 1 o’clock in the east, hanging in the constellation Fishing† On clear nights, you can’t miss it with a magnitude of -2.4 (very bright), according to the observatory. Towards the end of July, this gaseous planet rises around 11:30 p.m. By the way, Jupiter is getting brighter like Saturn as we will see its opposition in late September.

MarsEarth’s reddish neighbor, tracks Jupiter and now rises in the east-northeast around 1:30 a.m. The red planet settles in the constellation Pisces and camps between the constellations later in July RamTaurus and Cetus (the whale).

Mars is now +0.4 magnitude, bright, but improving to +0.2 magnitude, bright, later in July, gradually brightening up during late summer and falling in time for its opposition in December, according to the observatory. Later in July, Mars will rise before 1am

Venus, which tracks Mars, now rises on the east-northeast horizon just before 4 a.m., ushering in the sun’s dawn twilight. It’s a brilliant -3.9 magnitude, very bright. Our bubbly neighbor starts the month in Taurus zodiac and ends July hanging out with the twins in Twin

Find the full moon on July 13, which some may find a . to call super moon† reached the moon perigee (closest to Earth for the month) on July 12, so astronomers call this a “perigee full moon.” At 221,994 miles away, according to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the moon is closest to us this year.

Days after the full moon, our lunar neighbor wanes and becomes a planetary tourist in the summer. In the mornings of July, the tourist moon passes Saturn on July 15-16 and then sneaks past Jupiter on July 19. The last quarter moon will pass Mars on July 21, and the moon’s fingernail streak will approach bright Venus on July 25 before becoming a new moon July 28.

At the end of July, a small meteor shower may interest sky viewers: the Southern Delta Aquariums peak on the night of July 29 to 30, according to the American Meteor Society (

These shooting stars will not compete with a moon this year. The peak forecast is for 16 to 20 meteors per hour, according to the Meteor Society and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Meteors form when Earth penetrates the dusty cosmic trails of passing comets. The dust smacks of our atmosphere and provides a light show. Astronomers think the parent is from the shower Comet Machholz (96P)

* July 20 — “Tour of the Universe” – While the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the Mall is closed for renovation until the fall, enjoy a multi-station tour of other Smithsonian locations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. hands-on activities and telescopes that unpack answers about our sun, black holes, exoplanets and other cosmic pleasures. The National Gallery of Art, for example, will house the exoplanet station, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture will have a station explaining gravity. Build a laser maze at the Exploration Station of the National Museum of American History and explore the sun at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. All stations have well-filtered solar telescopes for safe viewing of the sun. For full details:

Blaine Friedlander can be reached at:

#Skywatch #Earlyrising #Saturn #leads #Julys #planetary #parade

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *