While the Summer Triangle and the other signature star patterns of the season continue their climb across the night sky, the solar system’s giants stage a dazzling show. Both are at opposition, so they shine at their brightest for the year. Mars shines brightly, too, while Venus dazzles as the Morning Star.
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In the Sky This Month
July 10: Moon and Mars
Look for Mars near the Moon the next couple of mornings, high in the sky at first light. Mars is to the upper left of the Moon tomorrow, and to the upper right on Sunday.
July 11: Great Appearances
Jupiter and Saturn, the solar system’s largest planets, are low in the southeast at nightfall and in the southwest at dawn. And the Moon and the planet Mars climb into good view by 1:30 or 2 a.m. Mars looks like a bright orange star to the upper right of the Moon.
July 12: Jupiter at Opposition
Jupiter is putting in its best appearance of the year. The planet is lining up opposite the Sun. It rises around sunset and is in view all night. It also shines brightest for the year. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall and looks like a brilliant star.
July 13: Jupiter at Opposition II
The planet Jupiter is putting on a great show. It is brightest for the year, shining like a brilliant star. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall, with the fainter planet Saturn not far to its lower left. Jupiter is is in the southwest at dawn.
July 14: Heading for Mars
Mars stands high in the southeast at dawn this week. It looks like a bright orange star. Scientists are planning to launch three missions to the planet this month, by the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates. The craft would arrive early next year.
July 15: Moon and Companions
The Moon has two bright companions the next couple of mornings. Tomorrow, the planet Venus and the star Aldebaran perch to the lower left of the Moon at first light. Venus is the Morning Star, while Aldebaran represents the eye of Taurus, the bull.
July 16: Moon and Companions II
The planet Venus and the star Aldebaran are close to the right of the crescent Moon at first light tomorrow. Venus is the dazzling Morning Star, which is the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon. Aldebaran marks the eye of Taurus, the bull.
Full July 4, 11:44 pm
Last July 12, 6:29 pm
New July 20, 12:33 pm
First July 27, 7:33 am
Times are U.S. Central Time.
Apogee July 12
Perigee July 24
The full Moon of July is known as the Hay Moon or Thunder Moon.