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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.

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

New Moon July 4 7:01 am EDT
First Quarter Moon July 11 8:52 pm EDT
Full Moon July 19 6:57 pm EDT
Last Quarter Moon July 26 7:00 pm EDT

July Visible Lunar Highlights

July 14 - Mars 7° S. of Moon, July 15 - Saturn 3° SW. of Moon,  July 22 - Neptune 1°.1 S. of Moon, Occn., July 29 - Aldebaran 0°.3 S. of Moon, Occn.

The Planets Visibility for July


Lost in the glare of the Sun until end of July

Mercury midmonth is at -1.1 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'05" and phase of 92.97%.


Lost in the glare of the Sun until end of July

Venus midmonth is at -3.9 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'10" and phase of 98.20%.


S Evening to Morning SW Sky 

Mars midmonth is at -1.1 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'15" located in the constellation Libra visible after sunset in the south. Mars sets at 1:44 am. The red planet is is best observed around 10:00 pm when highest in the south sky. A small telescope can reveal some surface markings on the planet. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page. See: How to find degrees.


 Evening sky WSW

Jupiter midmonth is at -1.8 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'33" is visible after sunset in the west southwest evening sky in the constellation Leo the Lion. Jupiter is the brightest planet in the sky after sunset. Jupiter sets at 11:13 pm. When you look at Jupiter your seeing the planet as it appeared 49 minutes ago due to the 546,466,000 million miles it takes light traveling at 186,000 miles per second to reach your eyes from Jupiter. 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 ESE to SW Morning Sky 

Saturn midmonth is at 0.3 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.18"  and 00°00'.41 across with rings. Saturn sets at 3:00 am. Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus visible in the south after sunset.  Saturn is best observed 10:00 pm when highest in the sky.  See: How to find degrees. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.0° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations 


Morning Sky E

Uranus midmonth is at 5.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.04" rising at 12:27 am in the constellation Pisces and is highest in the sky before dawn.

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Morning Sky ESE

Neptune midmonth is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.02". Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius rising at 10:2 pm and is best observed around 4:30 am when highest in the sky.

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids Midmonth

Asteroid 8 Flora at magnitude 10.0 The asteroid is only 03°31'14" above and to the left of Saturn and is 07°07'11" degrees from globular cluster M- 9 located in the constellation Ophiuchus. Best observed at 10:30 pm. Asteroid sets at 3:19 am.

Asteroid 7Iris at magnitude 10.2 is 06°14'59" degrees from M-80 globular cluster located in the constellation Scorpius. Asteroid 7Iris sets at 2:16 am. Best observed around 10:00 pm when highest in sky.

1Ceres at 9.0 magnitude rising at 1:30 am and located near the border of constellations Pisces and Cetus and is located 10°57'54" below Uranus.

Dwarf Planets


Morning Sky 

 Pluto is highest in the sky at 12:30 am.  Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.1 and diameter 00°00'.00".


C/2013 X1 ( PanSTARRS 

Comet 2013 X1 PanSTARRS  midmonth is estimated at 7.3 magnitude located in the constellation Lupus very low in the south 18 degrees below Mars just above the horizon. C/2013 X1 ( PanSTARRS ) is was expected to brighten up to 6th magnitude this summer. For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


July Meteors

Alpha Capricornids

Active from July 11th to August 10th 

The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August peaking July 27/28th. This shower is weak producing around 5 meteor per hour. The shower does show some bright fireballs. This shower appears to radiate from the constellation Capricornus. These meteors originate from the debris of comet 169P/NEAT. Image below for July 27/28th at 1:30 am shows radiant of Alpha Capricornids as indicated by
yellow circle.

Delta Aquariids

Active from July 21st to August 23rd 

The Delta Aquariids meteors peak on July 29/30th with about 15 meteors per hour. These are usually faint meteors that lack both trains and fireballs. The meteors are thought to be produced from the debris field of comet 96P/Machholz.
Image below for July 29/30th at 3:00 am shows radiant of Delta Aquariids as indicated by yellow circle.

Coming up are the Perseids

Active from July 13th to August 26th 

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower. The Perseids are active from July 12 to August 26 peaking on the nights August 12 and 13. Meteor rate per hour are around 50-75. Perseid meteors are from debris of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus
, thus the name of this shower. Image below for August 12th at 2:00 am shows radiant of Perseids as indicated by yellow circle.

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