July 2024

Saturn next to Aquarius in July 2024

Most of the planet watching this month is from midnight to dawn. Saturn rises in the late evening and appears stationary next to Aquarius. It’s actually retrograde, but since it just began that motion at the end of June, it takes a few weeks into July to notice with casual naked eye observations. Even then, maybe the ringed planet’s position will look unchanged. If you have a telescope, look at Saturn to see its rings just beginning to tilt more toward us. They were at their minimum angle in late June.

The moon, Mars, Uranus, and Jupiter the morning of July 1, 2024
Uranus, Mars, and Jupiter in the morning sky July 16, 2024
Uranus, Mars, Jupiter, and the moon the morning of July 31, 2024

In the wee hours, Mars, Uranus, and Jupiter rise. Mars starts July next to the head of Cetus the sea monster. It moves into Taurus, passing Uranus on the way on the 15th. Jupiter starts July near Ain on the Hyades V. Ain is opposite Aldebaran on the other side of the V. Mars, almost catching up to Jupiter, ends July where Jupiter was at the month’s start.

Mercury between Gemini and Cancer the evening of July 1, 2024, viewed from 5° south
Mercury in Cancer and the Beehive Cluster the evening of July 6, 2024, viewed from 5° south
Mercury and the moon in Cancer the evening of July 7, 2024, viewed from 5° south

Mercury is an evening object, starting July in Gemini and heading into Cancer by the 6th. Viewers in the southern hemisphere and partway into the northern hemisphere can try to see the messenger planet move through the Beehive Cluster on the 6th, 7th, and 8th. Use binoculars for a stunning view. Depending on your location, you could need them to readily spot Mercury in the sunset glow. The moon will pass by too. Mercury heads toward Leo while Venus moves into Cancer behind it. While the goddess is in Gemini, observers who like a challenge can try to spot Pollux and the moon close by on the 6th. Venus goes through the Beehive Cluster on the 17th, 18th, and 19th. As Cancer is getting lower in the sky at dusk, this is another challenging view. The best views of Mercury are likely to be around the 22nd when it’s at greatest elongation. It will be 26.9 degrees east of the sun.You can see Mercury and Venus somewhat close near Regulus in Leo in the last days of July.

Mercury in Leo and Venus in Cancer, evening of July 17, 2024, viewed from 5° south
Mercury by Regulus and Venus entering Leo, evening of July 25, 2024, viewed from 5° south
Mercury and Venus near Regulus, the evening of July 31, 2024, viewed from 5° south

The moon’s phases this month: new on the 5th, first quarter on the 13th, full on the 21st, and last quarter on the 28th.

Declination notes for the moon in July: northern lunistice on the 5th at 28.4 degrees, southbound over the equator on the 12th, southern lunistice on the 19th at 28.4 degrees, and northbound over the equator on the 25th.

The moon is at apogee on the 12th at a distance of 404,400 kilometers. Perigee is on the 24th at 364,900 kilometers.

Two planets go through aphelion this month. Earth itself is 1.017 astronomical units from the sun on the 5th. Mercury is 0.467 astronomical units from the sun on the 27th. Venus is the only planet with a perihelion this month. It’s 0.718 astronomical units from the sun on the 10th.

Two minor planets are at opposition this month. Ceres, on the 5th, will be 1.887 astronomical units from us. It may be seen in binoculars. Pluto will be 34 astronomical units from us during its opposition on the 23rd. It may be seen in a big telescope in a very dark sky.

Notable conjunctions this month:

Moon and Mars, 3.8 degrees, 1st

Moon and Uranus, 3.8 degrees, 2nd

Moon and Jupiter, 4.9 degrees, 3rd

Moon and Aldebaran, 9.7 degrees, 3rd

Venus and Pollux, 5.6 degrees, 6th

Moon and Pollux, 1.8 degrees, 6th

Moon and Venus, 3.8 degrees, 6th

Moon and Mercury, 3.1 degrees, 7th

Moon and Regulus, 2.8 degrees, 9th

Jupiter and Aldebaran, 4.8 degrees, 9th

Moon and Spica, 0.8 degrees, 14th

Mars and Uranus, 0.5 degrees, 15th

Moon and Antares, 0.2 degrees, 17th

Moon and Saturn, 0.3 degrees, 24th

Mercury and Regulus, 2.1 degrees, 25th

Moon and Neptune, 0.5 degrees, 25th

Moon and Uranus, 4.0 degrees, 29th

Moon and Mars, 4.9 degrees, 30th

Moon and Aldebaran, 9.9 degrees, 30th

Moon and Jupiter, 5.3 degrees, 30th

Visibility map for the moon occulting Spica, July 14, 2024 UTC

The Moon-Spica conjunction on the 14th comes with an occultation visible on the evening of the 13th local time from North America.

Visibility map for the moon occulting Antares on July 17, 2024 UTC

The southern half of Africa gets an occultation of Antares on the evening of the 17th. Sky watchers in Madagascar and on boats in the Atlantic and Indian oceans near Africa can see it too.

Visibility map for the moon occulting Saturn on July 24, 2024 UTC

Madagascar, the Indian Ocean, and south central and southeast Asia get an occultation of Saturn with the conjunction on the 24th. For many viewers, the local time will be the morning of the 25th.

And the moon passes in front of Neptune for the conjunction on the 25th. The view is from New Guinea, Micronesia, and the Pacific Ocean nearby. The local time for the event will be the 26th from many locations.

Leave a Reply

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