The Visible Planets
Mercury emerges out of the Sun’s glare low along the east-northeastern horizon by the middle of July. It reaches it greatest elongation west of the Sun of 20° on July 22. By the end of the month Mercury again begins to sink back into the glare of the rising Sun, disappearing.
Venus rises above the eastern horizon two hours before sunrise and gains elevation until it stands about 18° above the eastern horizon at sunrise. Look for bright Venus near the Moon before sunrise on the mornings of July 16 and 17.
Mars rises in the east at around 1:30 am local time by the middle of month and stands high in the southeast by sunrise. As the month progresses, Mars continues to brighten from magnitude -0.5 at the start of the month, to magnitude -1 by the end of the month, getting brighter as we approach the time of its opposition in early October. Mars this month is seen to be moving amongst the stars of Pisces, the fish, and Cetus, the sea monster. Look for Mars above the waning gibbous Moon on July 11 to 12.
Jupiter is the brilliant object located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, which rises after sunset and sets before sunrise. Jupiter will traverse a low shallow arc along the southern horizon through the night. It reaches it point of opposition and closest distance to the Earth, on July 14, making July the best month this year to view Jupiter through a telescope. On July 6 look for both Jupiter and Saturn above the waning gibbous Moon. Jupiter will be one of the highlights of evening observing at the RASC Observatory this summer!
Saturn along with Jupiter, both have oppositions in the month of July. Saturn’s opposition will follow Jupiter’s opposition by a few days and will take place on July 20. On July 20, Saturn will be 75 light minutes away from the Earth. Saturn during this time around opposition re-enters the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, on July 3 as it continues its retrograde motion. Saturn will also be one of the highlights of evening observing at the RASC Observatory this summer.
July 4 Full Moon (The Buck Moon)
July 12 Last Quarter Moon
July 20 New Moon
July 27 First Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
During the month of July there will be observable passes of the ISS. Check the website http://www.heavens-above.com for viewing times for your location.
From June to late July, noctilucent clouds can be seen from the Edmonton area. Look for these extremely high, pearly blue clouds, in the northern sky this month.
July 1 Canada Day!
July 4 Earth at aphelion (furthest distance from the Sun) at 152 095 295 km
A very shallow penumbral lunar eclipse is visible from North & South America.
The penumbral eclipse begins at 9:07 pm and ends at 11:52 pm
Only a very small amount of darkening of the Moon’s northern limb.
July 5 Jupiter near the Moon tonight (conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn/Moon)
July 6 Saturn near the Moon tonight (conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn/Moon)
July 11 Mars will be about 2° above the waning gibbous Moon tonight.
July 14 Jupiter at opposition (visible all night long from sunset to sunrise)
July 15 Pluto at opposition
July 20 Saturn at opposition (visible all night long from sunset to sunrise)
July 22 Mercury at greatest western elongation of 20° (in morning sky)