Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

July 9: Venus and Aldebaran

At first light tomorrow, Venus, the morning star, will stand directly above Aldebaran, the star that marks the eye of Taurus. Over the following few days, Venus will slide down to the left of Aldebaran, then stand side by side with the bull’s eye.

July 10: Moon and Mars

Look for Mars near the Moon the next couple of mornings, high in the sky at first light. Mars is to the upper left of the Moon tomorrow, and to the upper right on Sunday.

July 11: Great Appearances

Jupiter and Saturn, the solar system’s largest planets, are low in the southeast at nightfall and in the southwest at dawn. And the Moon and the planet Mars climb into good view by 1:30 or 2 a.m. Mars looks like a bright orange star to the upper right of the Moon.

July 12: Jupiter at Opposition

Jupiter is putting in its best appearance of the year. The planet is lining up opposite the Sun. It rises around sunset and is in view all night. It also shines brightest for the year. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall and looks like a brilliant star.

July 13: Jupiter at Opposition II

The planet Jupiter is putting on a great show. It is brightest for the year, shining like a brilliant star. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall, with the fainter planet Saturn not far to its lower left. Jupiter is is in the southwest at dawn.

July 14: Heading for Mars

Mars stands high in the southeast at dawn this week. It looks like a bright orange star. Scientists are planning to launch three missions to the planet this month, by the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates. The craft would arrive early next year.

July 15: Moon and Companions

The Moon has two bright companions the next couple of mornings. Tomorrow, the planet Venus and the star Aldebaran perch to the lower left of the Moon at first light. Venus is the Morning Star, while Aldebaran represents the eye of Taurus, the bull.