Tuesday, June 26, 2012

July 2012 Sky Events

Moon Phases

Tue., July 3, 2:52 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The full moon of July is usually called the hay moon. In Algonquian it is called the buck moon. Other names are thunder moon and mead moon. In Hindi it is known as guru purnima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is esala. The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Tue., July 10, 9:48 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The last or third quarter moon rises around 12:20 a.m. and sets around 2:30 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Thu., July 19, 12:24 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon.

Thu., July 26, 4:56 a.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The first quarter moon rises around 1:15 p.m. and sets around midnight.

Observing Highlights

Tue., July 10, morning

Conjunction of Venus and Aldebaran

Venus will be in close conjunction with Aldebaran, with Jupiter nearby.

Thu., July 12, morning

Venus at maximum brilliance

Venus will be at its brightest for this morning apparition, magnitude –4.7.

Sat., July 14, 4:55 a.m.–5:18 a.m. EDT

Double satellite transit on Jupiter

Jupiter’s satellites Io and Europa move across the face of Jupiter at dawn for viewers on North America’s east coast. Io’s shadow is also in transit.

Sun., July 15, dawn

Jupiter, Venus and the moon

A triple conjunction frames the crescent moon with the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter.

The Moon will occult Jupiter as seen from Europe except British Isles and Scandinavia, N Africa, Middle East, Russia, N China, Japan, and Korea.

Fri., July 20, evening

Mercury and the moon

A close encounter between Mercury and the moon, best seen from the southern hemisphere, as in this view from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sat., July 21, 2:51 a.m.–5:05 a.m. PDT

Satellite action on Jupiter

Jupiter’s satellites Io and Europa cross the face of Jupiter, preceded by their shadows. Europa’s shadow is just leaving on the right as Io’s shadow enters on the left. Best seen from the west coast of North America.

Tue., July 24, evening

Quadruple conjunction

The Moon, two planets (Mars and Saturn), and the bright star Spica join in a quadruple conjunction.


Mercury is in the evening sky for the first half of July, best observed from the southern hemisphere.

Venus is now a morning “star,” low in the east at sunrise. It reaches greatest brilliancy on July 12.

Mars is shrinking rapidly in size and brightness, located in Virgo. Mars is high in the southwest at sunset and sets around midnight.

Jupiter is in the morning sky in Taurus. It is close to Venus all month.

Saturn continues to be a  bright object in Virgo, setting around 12:30 a.m.

Uranus spends all month in the morning sky in the northwestern corner of the constellation Cetus, a rather strange place for a planet to be, since it is not one of the twelve zodiac constellations.

Neptune rises around 10:30 p.m. in Aquarius, and is visible the rest of the night.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support