The fourth of July celebrations will be wrapping up soon, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some great sights look up at in the nights to come this month! Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars will all be visible in July if you know when and where to look.
The first event to look out for is Saturn’s Opposition, which will occur on July 9th. At opposition Earth will be between Saturn and the Sun, and this year the orbits will line up nicely to give us a bright view of Saturn.
On July 9th Saturn will rise as the sun is setting. You should look southeast, near the horizon, close to midnight for the best view. You can also see Saturn closer to the moon by July 15th. This could make it easier to find, since you’ll be able to see it just after nightfall near the rising moon.
At same time, but higher in the sky, you’ll be able to spot Jupiter. Jupiter will be visible above Saturn, in the south/southeastern sky, through the first half of the month. As the King Planet, Jupiter will also be brighter than Saturn.
To easily spot Jupiter you can use the moon as a reference point near the middle of the month (from the 12th to the 14th). During this period Jupiter will be nearby the moon in the southern sky, near dusk.
Harder to spot, but still visible for the sharp-eyed, will be Mercury and Mars. Mercury and Mars will only be visible close to sunset and close to the horizon. The glow of the sunset could outshine them though, so for your best chance at a view you should bring binoculars.
To try to see Mercury and Mars, look to the west just after sunset through the first two weeks of July. By the middle of the month, they’ll be below the horizon and out of our view again.
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