Diary of Astronomical Phenomena for July

Diary of Astronomical Phenomena for July 2017
For the star map click here
For the Star Gazing in July  click here

The Earth is at perihelion i.e at its maximum distance for the Sun on 4th July at 01:40 IST in its present path. It will be about 1.0167 AU from the sun or about 152 million km.  Light from the rising sun on 4th will take about 8m 27s to reach us.

Mercury (Budha) is visible all through this month, if the sky permits,  above the western horizon soon after the civil twilight ends. It moves from Gemini , the Twins (Mithuna) to Cancer, the Crab (Karaka) on 4th of July and then to Leo, the Lion (Simha) on 16th.  It reaches its maximum eastern elongation on July 30th. However, it reaches highest altitude around 23rd of July.  This would be the best time to see the planet.
It pass through Beehive cluster (M44) on 10th.  That evening if the sky clear close to the western horizon then it should be possible to see the planet as a part of this magnificent open cluster and actually outshining its stars.

Venus (Shukra) is in Taurus , the Bull (Vrushabha) and crosses over to Orion , The Hunter  on 29th and then to Gemini , the Twins (Mithuna) on 31st of July.  Having reached its maximum western elongation last month Angular separation between Venus and the sun is decreasing. Venus is going away from sun.
It passes close to Hyades cluster from 9th to 14th of July.  On 13th it is just about 3° from Aldebaran (Rohini).

Mars  (Mangal) will be at superior conjunction (right behind the sun) on 27th of July and is not quite visible this month.  Mars moves from Gemini , the Twins (Mithuna) to Cancer, the Crab (Karaka) on 17th.

Jupiter (Guru, Bruhaspati) is in Virgo, the Virgin (Kanya) this month.  It is almost overhead at sunset.

Saturn (Shani) is in Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer (Naraturunga). The most beautiful part of Saturn is its rings. Presently the north side of the rings are continuously   tilting towards us. This will continue till October ’17 when the maximum inclination would be 27 degrees.  After that the rings would start closing till and after that they would start closing in.  In 2025 the Earth will be in the plain of Saturn’s rings when those will be seen just as a thin line cutting the planet.

March of Moon
The first quarter of moon in July takes place on 1st of July. On that day it is right overhead at sunset and right next to Jupiter.  Next day on 2nd July, facing south west we can see Spica (Chitra) to its right and below. Between 6th and 7th it passes north of Saturn.
Moon occults Aldebaran (Rohini) on 20th of July at 3:29 am. Again we will have to take a chance with the game of  hide and seek with clouds.
Next day thin lunar crescent can be seen right below Venus.

Phases of the Moon (timings in IST hh:mm)

First Quarter (Shukla Paksha Ashtami)

Full Moon (Poornima)

Last Quarter (Krishna Paksha Ashtami)

New Moon (Amavasya)

01st July 09th July 17th July 23th July
06:21 09:37 00:56 15:16

About skytonight

I am the present Director of Nehru Planetarium of Nehru Centre Mumbai, India I like to talk about astronomy and sky observations to general public.
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