Night sky in July – northern hemisphere
Highlights: Ceres and Vesta close in sky.
Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-northern latitudes such as London (51° 30′) in mid July, 2014, at 10pm (22h UT).
The planets in July 2014
Mercury has moved into the morning sky again. It reaches greatest western elongation, when it appears farthest from the Sun, on 12 July at magnitude +0.4. The planet may be easier to spot, providing you have a clear easterly horizon, towards the end of the month as it brightens to magnitude -1.4.
Venus is a bright magnitude -3.8 in the morning sky before dawn but is not easy to spot because it is low and also close to the Sun.
Mars is steadily shrinking again now that it is well past it two-yearly rendezvous with the Earth and receding from us. A small telescope might show one or two of the most prominent features if you catch it when it gets dark in the evening sky, shining at magnitude +0.2 in Virgo. Find out more about Mars here including new maps to show its position in the sky.
Jupiter. You will be hard-pressed to see Jupiter this month because it is close to the Sun in the sky, reaching superior conjunction on its far side on 24 July.
Saturn is at around magnitude +0.5 in the evening sky in the constellation of Libra. Its rings are wide open and so easy to view in a small telescope.
Ceres and Vesta close in the sky
The two largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, have their closest encounter in the night sky in recorded history on 4 July, but are not far apart throughout the month. See our special story on how you can see them in binoculars.
Note: The sky will appear much the same from other cities at similar latitudes, such as New York, Paris and Berlin, at around 10pm local time. The sky appears the same at the start of the month an hour later and at the end of the month an hour earlier. We use Virtual Sky, a new, customizable, browser-based planetarium, courtesy of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Click on the date or location to the top left of the chart to view the sky at a different time or from another longitude and latitude. If you want to check out the sky as seen from the southern hemisphere, click here.