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Night sky in July – southern hemisphere


Highlights: Jupiter, Mars and Saturn on view.

Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-southern latitudes such as Sydney (-33° 52′) in mid July, 2016, at 10pm local time.

The planets in July 2016

Mercury is at superior conjunction on the far side of the Sun on 6 July, after which it moves back into the evening sky, setting soon after the Sun.

Venus is back in the evening sky, though still close to the Sun. From mid-month, it might be spotted low in the north-west, shining at -3.9

Mars is still bright in the sky now at -1.4 at the start of July, following its May opposition, but it is rapidly receding from Earth, its disk shrinking as it does so. See it shining close to Saturn near the head of Scorpius. Find out more about Mars here including maps to show its position in the sky.

Jupiter is visible in the evening sky, and will be seen shining at magnitude -1.8 as soon as it gets dark. A small telescope will show the banding in its cloud tops, and the four brightest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto can be spotted in binoculars.

Saturn shines at around -0.2, following opposition last month, and can be found in the southern part of the constellation Ophiuchus, not far from Mars. The rings are very widely opened now and so may be well seen in a small telescope.

Note: The sky will appear much the same from other cities at similar latitudes, such as Perth or Wellington, at around 10pm local time. Imagine holding it over your head so that the centre of the chart is the zenith and the edge runs all the way around your horizon. 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 customizable, browser-based planetarium, courtesy of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Tip: The chart is interactive. Click on the date or location to the top left of the chart to view the sky at a different time or from another location. If you want to check out the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere, click here.