DR. SKY BLOG

Watchers’ guide to the sights of July night skies

Jul 14, 2021, 2:00 PM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

July brings on the summer monsoon and some additional sights in our Arizona skies!

The month opens up with the moon at its last quarter phase, rising near midnight and high in the sky at dawn.

From here, the moon then moves on to a waning crescent and finally on to another new phase on the 10th.

Sharp-eyed observers will see a very thin crescent moon low in the northwest on the evening of the 11th. All this being dependent on having a near-free monsoon sky right after sunset.

The moon will then travel along the ecliptic and get higher in our evening skies till it reaches first quarter phase on the 17th.

This is a great time for all that have binoculars or telescopes to view the best shadow relief along the light and dark line we call the terminator.

After the 17th, the moon is now in its gibbous or egg-shaped phase, only to move on to the next full moon of the month, this being the full buck moon on the evening of the 23rd, rising in the southeast at 7:47 p.m. Arizona time.

Here is a link to the rising and setting times for the moon this month.

After this, the moon will turn into a waning moon and reach last quarter phase on the 31st.

For planets, we have some exciting news for observers just after sunset.

Venus and Mars will be very close in the sky during the period from July 11-16.

Venus and Mars will come within a half of a degree in our skies on the night of the 13th. I suggest a pair of binoculars to get the best view. Look to the northwestern sky around 20 minutes after sunset.

In reality, Venus is some 133 million miles from earth, while faint Mars is located 230 million miles from Earth. Together, they make for an interesting contrast in the night sky, as Venus is bright white, while Mars appears orange red.

For more specifics on both of these planets in the night sky, this will help: Venus tracker; Mars tracker.

The show of planets gets better as we look to the southeastern sky right around 10 p.m. local time as Saturn will rise and then soon after this, the king of the planets, Jupiter, will make a grand entrance about an hour later.

Both Jupiter and Saturn are well worth the time spent in looking at them in a small telescope.

Both planets will reach opposition in August and be well placed in our skies all night.

For more specifics on these planets in the night sky, this will help: Jupiter tracker; Saturn tracker.

On a final note, get set for what may be the best meteor shower of the entire year, as we await the annual Perseid meteor shower, during the peak nights of Aug. 11-12.

We will cove this shower in greater detail in future columns.

Here is a link to learn more about the Perseids.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcast available here.

Dr. Sky Blog

(Pixabay Photo)...
Steve Kates

Heads up! Atmospheric optics are around on a regular basis

The skies are full of amazing sights other than the stars, planets and distant celestial objects - we're talking atmospheric optics.
3 days ago
(NASA Photo)...
Steve Kates

Red letter days ahead in December as Mars moves closer to Earth

During the month of December, expect to hear a lot about Mars and how best to view it and learn about it.
10 days ago
(Pixabay Photos)...
Steve Kates

It’s not a Thanksgiving turkey in the sky – that’s Cygnus the Swan

Point a pair of binoculars toward the sky on Thanksgiving night and find the magnificent Cygnus the Swan constellation.
17 days ago
NASA's new moon rocket lifts off from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral,...
Steve Kates

Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis I rocket to the moon

The long-awaited launch of the NASA Artemis 1 moon rocket has finally happened!
24 days ago
This Crab Nebula mosaic image was taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA/ESA Image)...
Steve Kates

The magic of constellation Taurus includes open star clusters

As we move deeper into the skies of autumn, we come across the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull.
1 month ago
(NASA Image)...
Steve Kates

Taurid meteor shower could bring in colorful fireball season in coming days

With Halloween behind us and the prospect of a new set of November events to look forward to in our skies, we present fireball season 2022!
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Watchers’ guide to the sights of July night skies