Secrets in the sky: What’s in the sky this July

Calling all stargazers! Check out the wonders in store this month.

Updated - July 06, 2024 03:58 pm IST

Published - July 06, 2024 12:42 pm IST

July marks the beginning of the second part of the year. Earlier this week, on July 2, Jupiter and Mars were very close together. This is also an excellent month to observe the Milky Way. On a clear, night, away from light pollution, the Milky Way stretches across the sky, revealing its stunning band of stars and nebulas.

New Moon: The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky on July 5. This is the best time to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

Full Moon: On July 22, the Moon will be positioned directly opposite the Sun, resulting in a fully illuminated face. Early Native American tribes called it Buck Moon because the new antlers of male deer would grow around this time. It was also known as Thunder Moon and Hay Moon.

Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation: The planet reaches its greatest eastern elongation of 26.9° from the Sun. It will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky offering the best views.

Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower.: The Delta Aquarids is a moderate meteor shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. Caused by debris from comets Marsden and Kracht, it occurs annually from July 12 to August 23 and will peak on the night of July 28 and the morning of July 29. Unfortunately, the second quarter moon will obscure the dimmer meteors. However, with patience, you should still be able to see some notable ones. The best time to watch is after midnight from a dark location. While the meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, they can appear anywhere in the sky.

Prominent constellations: Scorpius and Sagittarius will be prominent in the southern sky. Scorpius, with its bright red star Antares, looks like a scorpion; while Sagittarius, resembling a teapot, points the way to the centre of the Milky Way.

Planetary display: Look for a brightly shining Jupiter in the southeastern sky after sunset. Saturn will follow later in the evening, offering a beautiful sight with its iconic rings. In the early hours before dawn, you can catch a glimpse of Mars in the eastern sky and Venus, the “morning star,” will shine brilliantly nearby.

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