Through the first week in July, Mercury (magnitude 0.4) and Mars (magnitude 0.8) are visible low in the west-northwest as the sky darkens after sunset. After appearing just 0.2° apart on June 17 and 18, the two planets separate a little more each night.
Jupiter (magnitude -2.6) now rises in the southeast around 8:00pm, while Saturn (magnitude 0.2) follows just after 10:00pm. Both planets rise about two hours earlier by mid-July. The full moon passes 0.2° south of Saturn the night of July 15-16.
You can also see Jupiter and Saturn in the south-southwest early morning sky. Jupiter now sets around 4:30am and Saturn remains visible until fading into the morning sunlight. By mid-July, Jupiter sets about 3:00am, while Saturn sets a bit past 5:00am.
Venus (magnitude -3.9) now rises about 4:30am in the northeast, and about 30 minutes later just before sunrise by mid-July.
Last (6/25), new (7/2), first (7/9), full (7/16), last (7/24), new (7/31).
Messier of the Month – M12 (Gumball Globular)
M12, also known as the Gumball Globular, is a magnitude 7.6 globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is about 15,700 light years distant, contains about 200,000 stars, and has an estimated age of 12 to 13 billion years. M12 appears as a fuzzy patch through binoculars and smaller telescopes. An 8-inch scope will resolve the brightest stars, while a 10-inch scope will reveal the core.
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.