The Planets

Planet Data For July

Click on any planet below to go straight to its section.

MercuryVenusMarsJupiterSaturnUranusNeptuneObs for All

The table below shows key data for the planets this month, including rise, transit and set times, as well as magnitude, apparent size and position data (right ascension and declination).

Events that occur when the sun is below the horizon are shown with a black background and white text. All other events happen when the sun is in the sky and other for not visible for observation.

July is a decent month for planet-watching, especially if you’re able to be outside in the early hours before dawn. If you can be at the eyepiece at 4am, for example, you’ll have great views of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Conversely, the evening planets are a little disappointing. Mercury is barely visible, and Venus and Mars are both heading towards the horizon by the time the sky darkens enough to enjoy them.

All of the images below can be opened full screen in a new tab by clicking on them


05th July

Mercury is an evening planet this month. Right now, it’s just emerging from a trip behind the sun and is too close to it for us to see.

15th July

Soon after sunset, Mercury is very low on the northwest horizon. This is the view half an hour after sunset, Mercury is 4° high.

25th July

Ten days later and although Mercury is further from the sun, the shallow ecliptic keeps it low over the horizon.

Mercury reached its superior conjunction – when it passed behind the sun – on 30 June. At the start of July, therefore, it’s just re-emerging as an evening object.

What should also be apparent is that the disc is small. When Mercury is the far side of the sun, it’s as small as it gets in our eyepiece. Between the first and last days of the month, Mercury’s disc only grows from five arcseconds across to just over six. Over the same period, the disc goes from fully illuminated as it emerges from behind the sun, to just 62% lit, making it look like a mini version of the gibbous moon.

In general, there’s not much good viewing to be had this July. The ecliptic is shallow in the evening and even though Mercury’s distance from the sun is increasing, it doesn’t get much over the horizon when it’s dark enough for us to see it.

↑Return to top


05th July

Venus rapidly gets harder to see this month as it gets closer to the sun and the ecliptic gets more shallow. This is the view at 21:30.

15th July

At 21:15, Venus is about 12° high with Regulus and Mars nearby. It’s brightness makes it easily visible in the dusk.

25th July

At the same time ten days later, Venus is barely scraping the horizon. It will pass in front of the sun in a couple of weeks from now.

Venus has its inferior conjunction on 12 August, which is when it’ll pass in front of the sun. This is when the planet is as close to us as it gets and, consequently, when the disc is both at its largest and least illuminated.

At the beginning of July, the Venusian disc is a huge 34 arcseconds across and 31% lit. This is a fabulous time to see it with your telescope! As the month ends, Venus is larger than Jupiter at 54 arcseconds across (almost an arcminute), but is only 5% illuminated. And, as you can see, it is practically very hard to see between the sun setting and ther planet disappearing below the horizon.

Even with all these changes, the planet shines with a fairly steady brightness of magnitude -4.5, only dimming marginally as the month comes to a close.

↑Return to top


05th July

This view of Mars is at 9:30 in the evening. It’s 19° above the western horizon.

15th July

Lower in the sky now, Mars is near Regulus and Venus this evening.

25th July

It’s still 9:30 in this view but now Mars is only 10° high.

The Red Planet dips below 4 arcseconds wide this month and will soon disappear from our night sky altogether. There’s not much to see of it this month but it won’t be visible at all in a few short weeks from now.

Sadly, there is not much to see through our telescopes on the Martian surface before the last half of 2024.

↑Return to top


05th July

Jupiter soars high this month, but we need to be outside early to see it. This is the view at 5am when it’ll be about 30° high in the east.

15th July

Still at 5am and we see that jupiter is now midway between the horizon and overhead (zenith).

25th July

All month, Jupiter is growing in size as it heads back towards us. The disc size reaches almost 40 arcseconds wide by the month end.

July is the first month in a while that we’ve been able to see the giant planet against a dark sky background. If we get outside before dawn, we’ll have the chance to see Jupiter’s large, bright disc.

Over the course of this month, the disc grows from 36 to 40 arcseconds across, and brightens from magnitude -2.2 to -2.4. If you’re happy to set a 4am alarm, this is a great time to see our largest planet.

↑Return to top


05th July

If you’re outside at 5am to see Jupiter, you should also take a peak at Saturn. Here, it’s 40° above the south horizon.

15th July

We’re now looking at 4am, which is when it’s highest in the sky. This is the first time we can see it against a truly dark sky.

25th July

This view is also 4am but the ringed planet rises before midnight now, so late evening viewing is possible.

Saturn is far enough away that its disc size doesn’t change much as we and it orbit the sun. However, we can see the planet against a dark background now as it moves further and further from the sun.

For example, although all of the images above show it at its highest in the early hours of the morning, Saturn is more than 10° above the horizon by midnight in the last week of July; much more civilized for viewing!

↑Return to top

Uranus & Neptune

15th July – Uranus

We can see Uranus against a dark sky this month too. This is the view at 4am when Uranus is 22° over the eastern horizon.

15th July – Neptune

Our most distant planet, Neptune, also looks at its best in the early hours of the morning. Here it is at 4am, 43° above the southeast horizon.

Our two most distant planets have both become easier to see against a dark background again… but, as has been the story of the month so far, they are both best enjoyed in the early hours of the morning.

↑Return to top

All Planets Viewer

Use the table below to see when each of the planets is observable for each day this month. Click on it for full screen.

A planet is classed as observable when it is more than 10° above the horizon and the sky is dark enough for it to be observed.

↑Return to top

Planet ephemeris tables produced with the kind permission of Dominic Ford. Sky images are courtesy of SkySafari Pro 6.