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NASA’s skywatching tips for July include a parade of planets

What's Up: July 2024 Skywatching Tips from NASA

NASA is back with another rundown on what to look out for in the sky in the coming weeks.

Planets galore

For example, there’s plenty of planetary action to enjoy. Saturn will be appearing throughout the month, rising around midnight and climbing high in the south by sunrise. Mars pops up a couple of hours later, with Jupiter following close behind. And on July 3, before sunrise, the crescent moon will join Jupiter and Mars in the east.

“As the moon swings around the planet in its orbit, this same group gets back together at the end of the month, but as a much tighter gathering of Jupiter, Mars, and the moon, with the bright stars of the constellation Taurus,” NASA said in its latest skywatching video (top).

But that’s not all. On the evening of July 7 and 8, 30 to 45 minutes after sunset, those with an unobstructed view of the western horizon will be able to see Mercury shining brightly, low in the sky close to a slim crescent moon.

On July 13, you’ll also be able to see the moon appearing close to the bright bluish-white star Spica. View it in the first few hours after dark, to the southwest.

And if you have a pair of binoculars, you can use them in the middle of the month to get a look at Uranus. You’ll find it close to Mars, which is visible to the naked eye.


The constellation Scorpius, with the bright red star Antares, is a feature of the night sky at this time of year. At the tip of the scorpion’s tail are a couple of star clusters: M7, also known as Ptolemy’s Cluster, and M6, the Butterfly Cluster, both located about 5 degrees east of the the bright stars that mark the “stinger” end of the scorpion’s tail.

“These two clusters are easy to observe in July, and their location in Scorpius makes them pretty straightforward to locate on a clear night,” NASA said.

Watch NASA’s video for more detailed information on what to spot, and also consider using one of these useful astronomy apps, which help to identify all of the features that you’ll be able to see in the sky over the coming weeks.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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