Read our July sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!
These constellations are well placed in the evening this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.
Cygnus appears high in the eastern sky at sunset and moves towards the zenith across the course of the night. As the month continues, it appears slightly higher each night. Also known as the Northern Cross, Cygnus is best identified by it’s distinctive cross shape.
Pegasus rises in the east as the Sun sets, creeping higher as the night goes on. It is best seen towards the end of the month when it rises earlier. It can be found by looking for the Great Square of Pegasus that forms the body of the creature.
Cassiopeia is a circumpolar constellation, so can be seen at all times. Look for it in the northeast, lower in the sky in the early evening. It forms a bright ‘W’ shape that can be seen on the northern side of Cygnus.
Mercury stays close to the Sun this month, so will not be visible. It reaches greatest elongation west on the 5th, dichotomy (half-phase) on the 9th, and its highest altitude on the 13th.
Venus is a little further from the Sun than Mercury this month, but it is still too close to be seen. It is in conjunction with the Moon on the 12th.
Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen this month, but may be seen immediately above the horizon just before sunset at the beginning of the month. NEVER point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun. It reaches aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun, on the 13th.
Jupiter rises around midnight at the beginning of the month, rising earlier as the month goes on until it rises around sunset at the end of the month. Look for it rising in the southeast and moving south across the night. Jupiter is in conjunction with the Moon on the 26th.
Saturn follows the same path as Jupiter this month, a little ahead of it. Look for it rising in the southeast and moving south across the night. Rising just before midnight at the beginning of the month, as the month goes on it rises earlier. Saturn is in conjunction with the Moon on the 24th.
Uranus is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It rises in the early hours of the morning in the east, staying in the sky for only a couple of hours before sunrise. It rises earlier as the month goes on, reaching higher points in the sky before sunrise.
Neptune is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It rises in the east early in the night, moving south as the night goes on. As the month continues, it rises earlier.
The Piscis Austrinids reach their peak on the night of the 28th. The radiant (apparent origin point) of the meteors is in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. Meteors will only be visible when it is in the sky, from about 00:23 BST to dawn. Best displays are likely to be just before dawn, when the radiant is highest in the sky. There are very few meteors visible from this shower.
The Southern δ-Aquariids reach their peak on the night of the 30th. The radiant (apparent origin point) of the meteors will be in the constellation of Aquarius. Meteors will be visible from around 22:32 BST until dawn when Aquarius is in the sky. Best displays are likely to be just before dawn when it is at its highest. You will be able to see about 9 meteors per hour.
The α-Capricornids reach their peak on the night of the 30th. The radiant (apparent origin point) will be in the constellation of Capricornus. It is in the sky all night, so meteors will always be visible. Best displays are likely to be in the early hours of the morning around 01:00 BST when it is highest in the sky. You will be able to see around 2 meteors per hour.
Full Moon: 24th
Last Quarter: 1st, 31st
New Moon: 10th
First Quarter: 17th
The Moon reaches apogee, it’s furthest point from Earth, on the 5th and perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 21st.
The Moon reaches aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun on the 23rd, and perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, on the 10th.
Points of Interest
The Earth reaches aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun, on the 5th.
Comet 15P/ Finlay reaches its brightest point on the 7th and perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, on the 14th.
Comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar) reaches perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun on the 10th.
134340 Pluto reaches opposition on the 18th. It lies in the constellation of Sagittarius, but will not rise higher than 16° above the horizon.
Asteroid 6 Hebe reaches opposition on the 19th. It lies in the constellation of Aquila and will be visible all night, reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight. It will stop being observable about 03:08 BST.
Asteroid 12 Victoria will be at opposition on the 30th. It becomes visible around 22:41 until dawn. It will be best visible when it reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight.
Visit Spot the Station to find out when the International Space Station will be visible from your location.
Last updated: 29th May