Monthly Skywatchers' Page

For London and the UK

Sun And Nine Planets
The Sun and eight major planets (plus KBO Pluto) to scale. Earth is third planet from the left.


Introduction

The location of the stars and constellations can be learnt throughout a single year from books, mobile phone or planetarium software. Each month of the year, the same stars are visible from a given location. Different stars and constellations are visible as the year progresses. For example, in London, the constellation of Orion is always visible in the evenings of winter months of January and February. Scorpius is visible in the summer months of June and July around midnight.

The planets resemble stars except that, generally, they do not twinkle. Unlike the stars whose patterns are fixed, planets wander through the sky changing their positions amongst the starry background. This means that their periods of visibility change as the relative position of the Earth, Sun and planet vary. In one year Mars may be visible in August at midnight. In another year it may be behind the Sun and invisible from Earth during August.

This page gives the details of visibility for the five naked eye planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It also gives information about comets, meteor showers and non-regular phenomena like eclipses, transits and occultations.

The Observers' Glossary explains the terms used. Alternatively run the mouse cursor over terms in maroon.


The descriptions below are for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, especially London and the United Kingdom.
The planetary information is valid for any location at the same or similar Latitude (51.5°N).
Note that a degree in the sky is twice the apparent diameter of the Moon.

All times on this page are London (UK) times. This is normally GMT (Greenwich Mean Time also known as Universal Time).
In the United Kingdom, the clocks go forward by one hour for British Summer Time (BST) between mid March and late October.
A 24 hour clock is used so that 7pm is written 19:00.


July 2022

Mercury

Mercury

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be visible this month.

Venus

Venus

Venus is a brilliant morning object rising two hours before the Sun to the North of East.

The planet begins the month among the stars of Taurus moving into Gemini on 19th.

Although Venus is getting closer to the Sun as seen from Earth, the twilights are getting shorter meaning the planet will be easier so see this month.

The planet will be below the crescent Moon on 26th.

Mars

Mars

Mars begins the month in Pisces to the left of the much brighter Jupiter, rising at around 1am. During the month, Mars continues to move away from Jupiter.

By the end of the month the planet will be close to Uranus, a planet not visible to the naked eye but easy to see in binoculars.

On 9th Mars moves into Aries.

The planet is moving northwards which increases its visibility and altitude in the sky. By the end of July Mars will be rising around midnight.

Mars is moving towards the Earth which causes it to brighten during July. By the end of the month the planet will match Saturn in brightness.

Look for the red star-like Mars just below the Moon on 21st. From Japan, the planet will be occulted (hidden) by the Moon.

Jupiter

Jupiter

Jupiter rises around 12:30am at the beginning of July among the faint stars of Pisces.

The planet is brighter than any star and is brighter than anything until Venus rises just before dawn. It will be above the Moon on 19th.

By the end of the month Jupiter will be rising around 11pm.

Even a small telescope will show the four largest of its Moons, changing positions from night to night.

Saturn

Saturn

Saturn rises after 11pm at the beginning of the month among the stars of Capricornus.

Saturn is part of a line of planets visible in the morning with Jupiter, Mars and Venus to its left.

The famous rings are easy to see through even a small telescope.

Saturn will be above the Moon on 15th.

By the end of the month the planet will be rising around 9:30pm as it approaches opposition in August.

Sun

The Sun

The longest day was in late June and the days begin to get shorter during July.

At the beginning of the month the length of day is 16 hours 33 minutes. This reduces to 15 hours 27 minutes by the end of July.

At 08:10 on 4 July the Earth will be at its furthest from the Sun (Aphelion). The Earth's motion around the Sun is then at its slowest. This is one of the reasons why the times of sunrise and sunset are asymmetrical and why the time of midday varies throughout the year.

At aphelion, the Sun's distance from the Earth is 152.1 million km (94.5 million miles). This compares to 147.1 million km (91.4 million miles) in early January when the Earth is at its closest to the Sun. This is a difference of some 5 million km. The further Sun gives the Northern Hemisphere summer 7% less heat than it would otherwise receive from the Sun.

The Sun's distance from the Earth does not cause the seasons. These are caused by the Earth's axis being tilted at an angle of 23.5° to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. It is the tilt that causes both the length of the day and the noon day altitude of the Sun to vary throughout the year. It also causes the seasons to be reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Earth's changing speed around the Sun does have one effect. It makes the length of the four seasons different. The Earth is travelling at its slowest around the Sun between April and October and at its fastest between October and April.

In the Northern Hemisphere the lengths of the seasons are:

Spring 92 days 19 hours
Summer 93 days 15 hours
Autumn 89 days 19 hours
Winter 89 days 01 hour

The time of midday moves forward from 13:04 to 13:06 during July. Remember the clocks are forward at this time of the year. Around 26th, midday will be at 13:07, its latest value for the year.

The Sun begins July in Gemini moving into Cancer on 20th.

Note that the astronomical Zodiac dates (the actual Zodiac dates that you can see by observation) do not tie in with astrology as astrologers are using dates from two thousand years ago.

Date Sunrise Midday Sunset Length of Day Sun's Noon Altitude Notes
01-Jul
04:47
13:04
21:20
16h 33m
61.6°
 
02-Jul
04:48
13:04
21:20
16h 32m
61.5°
 
03-Jul
04:49
13:04
21:20
16h 31m
61.4°
 
04-Jul
04:49
13:04
21:19
16h 29m
61.3°
Aphelion at 08:10
05-Jul
04:50
13:05
21:19
16h 28m
61.3°
 
06-Jul
04:51
13:05
21:18
16h 27m
61.2°
 
07-Jul
04:52
13:05
21:18
16h 25m
61.1°
Evening Half Moon
08-Jul
04:53
13:05
21:17
16h 23m
60.9°
 
09-Jul
04:54
13:05
21:16
16h 22m
60.8°
 
10-Jul
04:55
13:05
21:15
16h 20m
60.7°
 
11-Jul
04:56
13:06
21:15
16h 18m
60.6°
 
12-Jul
04:57
13:06
21:14
16h 16m
60.4°
 
13-Jul
04:58
13:06
21:13
16h 14m
60.3°
Full Moon at 19:58 (Sagittarius)
14-Jul
04:59
13:06
21:12
16h 12m
60.1°
 
15-Jul
05:00
13:06
21:11
16h 10m
60.0°
Moon close to Saturn
5am sunrise
16-Jul
05:02
13:06
21:10
16h 08m
59.8°
 
17-Jul
05:03
13:06
21:09
16h 06m
59.6°
 
18-Jul
05:04
13:06
21:08
16h 03m
59.5°
 
19-Jul
05:05
13:06
21:07
16h 01m
59.3°
Moon close to Jupiter
20-Jul
05:07
13:06
21:05
15h 58m
59.1°
Morning Half Moon
16 hour day
21-Jul
05:08
13:06
21:04
15h 56m
58.9°
Moon close to Mars
22-Jul
05:09
13:06
21:03
15h 53m
58.7°
 
23-Jul
05:11
13:07
21:02
15h 50m
58.5°
 
24-Jul
05:12
13:07
21:00
15h 48m
58.3°
9pm sunset
25-Jul
05:13
13:07
20:59
15h 45m
58.1°
 
26-Jul
05:15
13:07
20:57
15h 42m
57.9°
Moon close to Venus
Latest time of midday
27-Jul
05:16
13:07
20:56
15h 39m
57.6°
 
28-Jul
05:18
13:07
20:54
15h 36m
57.4°
New Moon at 18:55
29-Jul
05:19
13:07
20:53
15h 33m
57.2°
 
30-Jul
05:21
13:06
20:51
15h 30m
56.9°
 
31-Jul
05:22
13:06
20:50
15h 27m
56.7°
 

Moon

The Moon

The Moon will be close to Saturn on 15th.

The Moon will be close to Jupiter on 19th.

The Moon will be close to Mars on 21st.

The Moon will be close to Venus on 26th.

This month's Full Moon occurs on 13th.

The Full Moon is always opposite the Sun. The Sun was at its highest for the Northern Hemisphere on 21 June. This month's Full Moon will be low in the sky.

The Full Moon will rise in the South East and will climb very low above the horizon setting in the South West.


It is easy to depend on astronomy or CMMS software to perform daily computational activities and to keep track of data. Astronomy enthusiasts can choose from a wide variety of software options, while facility managers may have fewer options if they require CMMS software for their business.


Next Month

Venus, Jupiter, Mars in the morning. Saturn at oposition.


All times on this page are London (UK) times.

Sources: Astronomy Now magazine, Cybersky, Starry Night Pro, USA Naval Observatory and UK Nautical Almanac Office.

© 2022 KryssTal
All sky images by Starry Night Pro Plus 6
Eclipse predictions (maps) courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC


Books From Amazon.co.uk


Observers' Glossary

An explanation of the terms used by sky observers. Includes descriptions of how the objects of the solar system behave in the sky as seen from Earth (especially the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes).


KryssTal Related Pages

Tables and data about the Sun, Earth, Moon, planets, asteroids and comets. All terms used are explained.

An account of how various properties of stars can be measured by studying starlight. Includes brightness, distance, luminosity, temperature, mass, radius, density and an introduction to the H-R Diagram.

A table containing a list of the 20 brightest stars in the Earth's sky. Explanations of all the associated terms like magnitude, spectral type and radial velocity.

A detailed account about eclipses, transits and occultations. These are irregular phenomena that can be observed in the sky. Includes eclipse trips around the world with photos and well as photos of recent transists of Mercury and Venus.

An easy-to-understand scaling of the Universe in space. Distances in space are represented by the time light takes to travel there.

An easy-to-understand scaling of the Universe in time. The chronology of the Universe is compared to a real year.

How humanity came from believing Creation Myths to postulating the Inflationary Big Bang Theory. The key stages in our understanding of our place in the cosmos and the people who broadened our understanding.

What do we mean by the words day, week, month, year? Who invented our calendar? When did the third millennium begin? The relation between time and astronomy.

The force that moves apples and planets. A short introduction to the ideas of Kepler and Newton that culminated with the theory of Universal Gravitation.

A look at the mathematics of a sphere with a section on sundials and the equation of time.


External Skywatching Links

These links will open in a separate window

StarDate Online
An excellent online skywatchers' magazine featuring detailed monthly information about astronomical events.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
A different image each day with an extensive archive and explanations.

Telescope House
A London based source of astronomical equipment, telescopes, software, maps and books.

Starry Night Pro
Superb planetarium software. Simulate the sky from anywhere on the Earth and any time.