Jupiter and Venus dominate night sky

Jupiter and Venus will outshine all the other planets and stars in the heavens for the next few months.

Bright Venus can be seen as the “morning star” just before sunrise in the eastern dawn sky. If you’re up early, it will be easy to see relatively high in the sky for July and August. On July 20, the planet will make a close encounter with the crescent Moon.

These close encounters are always amazing even with the naked eye and make impressive photographs.

Jupiter the king of the planets can be seen in the southwest evening sky and is a great object to see through your telescope or binoculars. Every night it will sink lower in the sky. On July 28, it will make a close encounter with the crescent Moon. Here are July stargazing events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury can be seen in the western evening twilight sky. Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen. Saturn can be seen in the evening sky.

July 3 – Even though it’s summer, the Sun is furthest from our planet for the entire year at more than 152 million kilometres. Our average distance to the Sun is about 149.6 kilometres. This distance is called an Astronomical Unit and is used as a measuring stick to far away objects by astronomers.

July 6 – The Moon will be close and above Saturn in the southern evening sky. Both objects are closets just before midnight. Through a telescope, you can see Saturn’s open rings.

July 9 – This month’s Full Moon is known as the Full Buck Moon or Thunder Moon.

July 13 – Venus is close and above star Aldebaran at dawn.

July 25 – Mercury is just blow star Regulus and close to the crescent Moon low at dusk.

July 27 – The Southern Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks.

July 29 – From 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Public Stargazing Night at McQuesten Park located at 1199 Upper Wentworth Street in Hamilton.

July 30 – Mercury is at its greatest distance from the Sun and easier to spot during evening twilight.

For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca. Twitter: @MarioCCarr