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The July Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

Earth is at aphelion – its furthest distance from the Sun – on July 6, at 3:41 pm EDT.

The Full Moon for July

 The Full Buck Moon – July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon. Courtesy Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

Full Moon July 1 10:20 pm EDT
Last Quarter Moon July 8 4:24 pm EDT
New Moon July 15 9:24 pm EDT
First Quarter Moon July 24 12:04 am EDT
Full Moon July 31 6:43 am EDT

July  Lunar Highlights

July 6th Neptune is 3° S. of Moon, July 8th Uranus is 0°.8 N. of Moon, July 12th the star Aldebaran is 0°.9 S. of Moon, July 18th Jupiter is 4° N. of Moon, July 18th Venus is 0°.4 N. of Moon, July 26th Saturn is 2° S. of Moon, July 31st Venus is 6° S. of Jupiter.

All times are EST

The Planets Visibility for June


Morning sky ENE

 Mercury July 1st is low in the morning sky rising at 4:23 located in the constellation Taurus the Bull and difficult to see at magnitude -0.2. without binoculars. Mercury grows too close to the Suns glare by July 5th.


Evening sky W

 Venus on July 1st Venus is 0°.4 South of Jupiter. Venus at midmonth is at -4.5 magnitude, a diameter of 00°00'.41", a phase of 21.50% and located in the constellation Leo the Lion setting at 10:12 p.m.. Venus is about 5 degrees to the left of Jupiter. It is very prominent right after sunset above the western horizon. 


Morning Sky E

Mars is lost in Suns glare. Midmonth August Mars will be an easier target in the morning sky at 1.7 magnitude in the constellation Cancer the Crab rising at 4:44 a.m..

To find Mars look for a reddish object low in the west northwest sky. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.


 Evening sky W

Jupiter midmonth is at -1.8 magnitude, a diameter of 00°00'.32"  and located in the constellation Leo the Lion near the Cancer border setting at 10:13 p.m. Jupiter is about 5 degrees to the right of Venus.

  A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


  Evening sky S

Saturn midmonth is at +0.3 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.18" setting around 2:23 a.m. It will be highest in the south sky around 9:15 p.m. midmonth. Saturn is in the constellation Libra the Scales. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are 24.0° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations


Morning Sky E

 Uranus midmonth at 5.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.04" rising around 12:21 a.m.. Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces. Best observed after 4:00 a.m. when higher in the sky. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening/Morning Sky ESW

Neptune midmonth  is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.02" rising around 10:45 p.m.. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a blue green disk. Neptune is located in the constellation Aquarius. Best observed around 3:00 a.m. when higher in the sky. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids

Ceres at 7.5 magnitude July 25th reaches opposition. It is at its closest point to Earth in the constellation Microscopium best observed around 1:25 a.m. when highest in the sky.

Dwarf Planets


 Pluto at midmonth is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.1 and diameter 00°00'.00" rising at 9:43 p.m.. A large telescope is needed to see this distant object.


Comets Brighter than 8 Magnitude


For more on current Comets and locations see: Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


Delta Aquarids

The Southern Delta Aquarids July 14- August 18 peaking on July 30, and can produce 15-20 meteors per hour. Full Moon occurs at peak and interferes with amount of meteors seen. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south.


Get ready for the Perseids beginning July 13th to August 26. This shower is most popular meteor shower. The shower peaks on August 12/13th. Expect 50-75 meteors per hour at maximum. The Perseids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

 The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map