July 2022

Welcome to SkyEye, your guide to this month's celestial events.

The Calendar

The closest perigee of the year coincides with the Full phase, making July's Moon a particularly 'super' one. However, the Moon is absent from the night skies by the end of the month, leading to a favourable renewal of the Southern δ Aquariid meteor shower.

The phases of the Moon in July 2022

Date Body Event
2 Mars 0.2° south of ο Piscium (Torcular)
4 Earth aphelion
6 Mercury ascending node
7 Moon first quarter
9 Moon descending node
10 Mercury maximum declination north
Mercury perihelion
13 Moon closest perigee of the year
Moon full: Super Moon
16 Mercury superior conjunction
20 134340 Pluto opposition
Moon last quarter
21 Mars solstice
Moon, Mars lunar occultation of Mars: visible from southeast Asia, eastern China and eastern Russia
22 1 Ceres conjunction
Moon, Uranus lunar occultation of Uranus: visible from eastern Brazil, western Africa and the Canary Islands
Moon ascending node
Venus maxiumum declination north
25 Jupiter maxiumum declination north
26 Moon apogee
28 Moon new
29 Jupiter stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
30 Earth Southern δ Aquariid meteor shower

The Solar System

The word planet is derived from the Greek word for 'wanderer'. Unlike the background stars, planets seem to move around the sky, keeping mostly to a narrow track called the ecliptic, the path of the Sun across the stars. Dwarf planets and small solar-system bodies, including comets, are not so constrained, often moving far above or below the ecliptic.

The position of the Sun and planets at mid-month

Sun GeminiCancer

Mercury TaurusGeminiCancerLeo

Mercury disappears from the morning sky early in the month, with superior conjunction occurring on 16 July. The closest planet to the Sun returns to the west in what will be its best evening apparition of 2022 for southern hemisphere observers. The third of four perihelia this year occurs on 10 July.

Venus TaurusOrionGemini

The morning star continues to lose altitude as seen from the southern hemisphere but is actually rising slightly as seen from northern temperate latitudes. Look for it in the east before sunrise.

Earth and Moon

Earth reaches its farthest point from the Sun, aphelion, on 4 July. The closest perigee of the year, on 13 July, coincides with Full Moon, leading to a spectacle called a Super Moon, the Full Moon with the largest apparent angular diameter over the course of a year. The waning crescent Moon occults both Mars and Uranus this month, on 21 July and 22 July respectively. The waxing crescent Moon does not interfere with viewing the Southern δ Aquariids near the end of the month.

Mars PiscesAries

The red planet begins to rise before midnight for observers in northern temperate latitudes but remains strictly a morning sky object for those in the southern hemisphere. The second day of the month sees Mars move past Torcular, a fourth-magnitude star in Pisces. Solstice arrives on 21 July and with it, summer in the Martian southern hemisphere and winter in the north. On the same day, the waning crescent Moon occults the zero-magnitude planet. This event is visible from southeast and eastern Asia, eastern China and eastern Russia, and begins around 14:30 UT.

Jupiter Cetus

Jupiter reaches its maximum northerly declination on 25 July and then goes into retrograde (in right ascension) just four days later. The bright planet is best observed from southern latitudes where it rises around mid-evening; it is only just now appearing before midnight for planet watchers in northern temperate regions.

Saturn Capricornus

As it approaches opposition next month, Saturn is increasingly accessible as it rises closer and closer to sunset. The best views are still from the southern hemisphere where the ecliptic soars high overhead.

Uranus Aries

Lunar occultations continue this month with the waning crescent Moon obscuring Uranus on 22 July. Astronomers in eastern Brazil, western Africa and the Canary Islands can enjoy this event beginning around 04:00 UT. The green ice giant is a morning sky object, rising around midnight.

Neptune Pisces

A small telescope is necessary to view the most distant planet in the solar system. Neptune is finally rising before midnight for northern hemisphere observers but is best viewed from southern latitudes where the winter skies are dark and the faint planet rises mid-evening.

The Celestial Sphere

Constellations are patterns of stars in the sky. The International Astronomical Union recognises 88 different constellations. The brightest stars as seen from the Earth are easy to spot but do you know their proper names? With a set of binoculars you can look for fainter objects such as nebulae and galaxies and star clusters or some of the closest stars to the Sun.

Descriptions of the sky for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres are available for the following times this month. Subtract one hour from your local time if summer (daylight savings) time is in effect.

Local Time Mid-month Northern Hemisphere Equator Southern Hemisphere
1730 hours (1830 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
1930 hours (2030 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
2130 hours (2230 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
2330 hours (0030 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0130 hours (0230 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0330 hours (0430 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0530 hours (0630 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S