July 2021 Astronomical Highlights
The Visible Planets
Mercury is found low along the east-northeastern horizon before sunrise at the start of July. It reaches it greatest elongation west of the Sun of 22° on July 4. By the end of the month Mercury disappears back into the glare of the rising Sun.
Venus continues to shine brightly in our west-northwestern sky after sunset, but by the month’s end it sinks very low toward the western horizon and is seen for just a short while before it also sets. Look for bright Venus near the much fainter planet Mars after sunset on the night of July 12. Binoculars will help viewing this close conjunction of Venus and Mars, with them being a mere half a degree apart. The slim waxing crescent Moon is seen near Venus after sunset on July 11.
Mars is still found low in our west-northwestern sky at sunset, now considerably dimmer than it has been over the past few months after its opposition in October 2020. On July 12, look for faint Mars near the brighter planet Venus. By the end of July, Mars disappears into the glare of the setting Sun and can not be seen from our latitude.
Jupiter rises along the east-southeast horizon around midnight local time at the start of the month and slowly moves across the southern sky as night moves on. By sunrise, Jupiter can be found shining brightly low in the southern sky. Jupiter spends this month within the constellation boundaries of Aquarius, the water bearer. In the predawn hours of July 26, look for Jupiter near the waning gibbous Moon in the southern sky.
Saturn rises along the east-southeastern about an hour before Jupiter, around 11:00 pm at the start of the month, and is seen low in the southern sky before sunrise. Saturn spends this month within the constellation boundaries of Capricornus, the sea goat. Look for Saturn above the waning gibbous Moon on the nights of July 24 and 25. Saturn will be at opposition on August 2.
July 1 Last Quarter Moon
July 9 New Moon
July 17 First Quarter Moon
July 23 Full Moon (The Buck Moon)
July 31 Last Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
During the month of July 2021 there will be numerous 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 Mercury at greatest western elongation of 22° (in morning sky)
July 5 Earth at aphelion (furthest distance from the Sun) at 152 100 527 km
July 12 Close conjunction of Mars and Venus (0. 5°)
July 17 Pluto at opposition
July 24 Saturn near the waning gibbous Moon
July 26 Jupiter near the waning gibbous Moon
July 28 The south delta-Aquariid meteors peak (zenith hourly rate of 20 meteors)