Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sky Events July 2013

Moon Phases

Mon., July 8, 3:14 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.

Mon., July 15, 11:18 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 1:15 p.m. and sets around 12:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Mon., July 22, 2:16 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of July is usually called the Hay Moon or Buck Moon. In Cree it is called Opaskwuwipizun, meaning “Moon when ducks begin to molt.” 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.

Mon., July 29, 1:43 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 11:45 p.m. and sets around 2 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Observing Highlights

Mon., July 1, 9 p.m. EDT

Pluto at opposition

Dwarf planet Pluto will be directly opposite the Sun in our sky on July 1. It requires a large telescope to detect it against the rich backdrop of the center of our Galaxy. Note all the deep sky objects in close proximity to Pluto’s direction.

Wed., July 3, twilight

Venus in the Beehive

If you have a low western horizon and a very clear sky, you may be able to spot Venus against the backdrop of the Beehive Cluster, one of the closest open clusters which is number 44 in Charles Messier’s catalog.

Tue./Wed, July 16/17, 12:00 midnight EDT

Spica and the Moon

The first quarter Moon passes just north of the bright star Spica in Virgo. In the central Pacific Ocean, southern Central America, and northwestern South America, the Moon will pass in front of Spica, occulting its light.

Tue. and Wed., July 16 and 17, morning twilight

Mars close to Messier 35

If you have a low eastern horizon and a very clear sky you may catch the planet Mars, recently emerged from behind the Sun, as it passes close to the open cluster Messier 35 in Gemini.

Sun. and Mon., July 21 and 22, dusk

Regulus and the Venus

Venus will pass just north of the bright star Regulus in Leo.

Mon., July 22, dawn

Mars and Jupiter

The two planets Mars and Jupiter will be in a close conjunction less than a degree apart at the feet of the Gemini twins.

Tue. July 30, dawn

Mercury at greatest elongation west

Mercury joins Mars and Jupiter in the dawn sky, best viewed in binoculars about half an hour before local sunrise.


Mercury is between Earth and the Sun for most of the month, reappearing in the dawn sky around July 20. It is at greatest elongation westward from the Sun on July 30.

Venus is now an “evening star” setting just after the sun.

Mars emerges from behind the Sun in the morning sky, passing close to Messier 35 on July 16 and 17, and Jupiter on July 22. It will be many months before Mars will be close enough to reveal any detail in amateur telescopes.

Jupiter is the brightest object in the morning sky for most of the month. It spends the whole month in Gemini.

Saturn is high in the western sky at just after sunset, and sets around midnight.

Uranus is in Pisces, in the morning sky.

Neptune is in Aquarius all month, rising in late evening and visible the rest of the night.

Pluto is in opposition in Sagittarius on July 1.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2013 Starry Night Software

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