For the second month in a row, it doesn’t truly get dark during July. For the sky to be completely dark, the Sun must get at least 18 degrees below the horizon and this only happens on the last 2 days of July from Ireland. The planets are starting to make their way from the morning to the evening sky by the end of the month. Again, this month you should keep an eye out for noctilucent clouds which can be seen some evenings shining in the north after sunset and before sunrise. I have another post about noctilucent clouds and the link is below:
Sun and Moon
|Date||Sunrise (Irish Time)||Sunset (Irish Time)|
Mercury is hard to see as it is so close to the Sun. Mercury is in the morning sky for the first few days of July. It draws closer to Sun over the first days of the month, brightening as it does so. By the 12th July, it rises only 30 mins before the Sun and is unlikely to be seen. Look for it very low in the north east about 40 -50 mins before sunrise.
Venus has returned to the morning sky and can be seen shining very brightly in the north east before sunrise. It rises about an hour an a half before the Sun. On the morning of 26th and 27th, look out for the crescent moon not far from Venus.
Mars is improving through July. It rises around 2am at the start of the month but by months end this has slipped back to around 00:45. Look for it in the south east in the late night/early morning sky. The Moon will be close on the 21st July.
Jupiter is visible in the south. It is very bright and will be the brightest thing in the sky except for Venus, the Moon and Sun. It will be hard to miss if you see it. At the start of July it rises just after 1am but by the end of the Month it will rise before midnight. look for the Moon close by on the morning of July 19th.
Saturn is visible in the south and rising earlier each night. It rises around midnight on 1st of July and about 10pm at the end of the month. look for it in the south. If you need help finding it, it will have a nearly full moon close to it on the night of 15th/16th July.
Stars and Constellations
The above sky chart is for 23:00 on 15/07/2022. You can click on the chart to open a new tab and bring you to Heavens Above. On this website you can generate a custom chart for the time and date you wish. The spring constellations of Leo (the lion), Bootes (the herdsman) and Virgo (the virgin) still take prominence overhead early in the night. But they have now moved west slightly. An interesting fact about the constellation of Virgo is that the galaxy M87 is located in Virgo. M87 contains the supermassive black hole which astronomers managed to image the shadow of in 2019.
Look out for Cygnus (the swan), Lyra (the liar) and Aquila (the eagle). The brightest stars in these constellations are Deneb, Vega and Altair and they make up the Summer Triangle. By around midnight there are right overhead. Hercules (the hunter) is also overhead at this time of year.
In the south at this time of year is the constellation of Scorpius (the scorpion). This is the direction of the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It never rises very high in the sky from Ireland, but if you look in the direction, from a dark location you should be able to make out that it is almost misty or milky with stars.
Over in the east you can see Pegasus (winged horse in Greek mythology), Andromeda (Princess of Ethiopia) and Perseus (the hero).