Monthly Stargazing Calendar for July 2012

Most of this month will be rather uneventful when it comes to astronomical events, but at the end of the month, on July 28 and 29 we will witness the Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids can produce about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. Although the shower usually peaks on July 28 and 29, some meteors can also be seen from July 18 to August 18. The meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation of Aquarius, which is why Southern Hemisphere viewers usually get a better show because the radiant is higher in the sky from their point of view. The near first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies which is excellent.

Moon phases

As you know, the Moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the Moon’s phases for this month:

Moon Phases Calendar for July 2012

Positions of the planets this month

Mercury: The closest planet to the Sun can be seen at dawn and dusk in the constellation of Cancer. This planet, being the closest to the Sun, will appear to move quickly in the night sky and its position will change in the following weeks.

Venus: The sister planet can be seen in the constellation of Taurus, right next to Jupiter. Just like Mercury, Venus can only be seen at dawn and dusk.

Mars: The red planet can be seen in the constellation of Virgo, not far from Saturn.

Jupiter: The gas giant is visible in the constellation of Taurus. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the middle of the Virgo constellation, not far from the bright star Spica.

Uranus: The gas giant can be seen between the constellations of Pisces and Cetus with the use of a telescope.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed in the constellation of Aquarius in order to be seen.

Major astronomical events next month

  • August 6 – Curiosity Rover at Mars.
  • August 12, 13 – Perseids Meteor Shower.
  • August 24 – Neptune at Opposition.