Dates and times shown are NZST (UT + 12 hours). Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.1.

THE SUN and PLANETS in JULY 2021, Rise & Set  Mag. & Cons.
          JULY 1        NZST           JULY 31        NZST  
      Mag  Cons    Rise    Set     Mag  Cons    Rise    Set
SUN  -26.7  Gem   7.44am  5.04pm  -26.7  Cnc   7.27am  5.27pm
Merc   0.8  Tau   6.01am  3.48pm   -2.1  Cnc   7.30am  5.13pm
Venus -3.8  Cnc   9.24am  7.02pm   -3.9  Leo   9.02am  8.11pm
Mars   1.8  Cnc   9.45am  7.40pm    1.8  Leo   8.36am  7.19pm
Jup   -2.7  Aqr   9.12pm 10.44am   -2.8  Aqr   7.02pm  8.41am
Sat    0.4  Cap   7.31pm  9.51am    0.2  Cap   5.22pm  7.47am
Uran   5.8  Ari   3.18am  1.34pm    5.8  Ari   1.24am 11.38am
Nep    7.9  Aqr  11.00pm 11.35am    7.8  Aqr   9.00pm  9.36am
Pluto 14.5  Sgr   6.04pm  9.04am   14.5  Sgr   4.02pm  7.04am

              JULY 1  NZST             JULY 31  NZST
TWILIGHTS    morning     evening       morning      evening
Civil:    start 7.16am, end 5.33pm   start 7.00am, end  5.55pm
Nautical: start 6.42am, end 6.08pm   start 6.27am, end  6.28pm
Astro:    start 6.08am, end 6.41pm   start 5.55am, end  7.00pm

  Last quarter:  July  2 at  9.11am (July 1 21:11 UT)
  New Moon:      July 10 at  1.17pm (01:17 UT)
  First quarter: July 17 at 10.11pm (10:11 UT)
  Full Moon:     July 24 at 02.37pm (02:37 UT)
  Last quarter    Aug  1 at  1.16am (July 31, 13:16 UT)


MERCURY is a morning sky object throughout July although on the morning of the 31st it rises at the same time as the Sun. The best opportunities for seeing Mercury will be early in the month about an hour before sunrise.

On the morning of July 1, the planet will be some 6° up near 6.45am (Wellington) and some 16° to the left of Betelgeuse. the star being slightly higher. Mercury will be 30° round to the north from east.

The planet is at its greatest elongation for the month, 22° from the Sun on the 5th. For the rest of the month its distance from the Sun will be decreasing.

On the morning of the 8th, Mercury now brighter at magnitude 0.0, will be just over 5° to the right of the crescent moon and also less than half a degree above the 3.0 magnitude star zeta Tau.

During July Mercury moves through parts of four constellations, Taurus, Orion, Gemini and Cancer.

VENUS and MARS are evening objects during July. On the 1st Mars is 7° above and to the right of Venus. During the first part of July, the faster moving Venus will gradually catch up with Mars until on the 13th the two are only half a degree apart. At 6pm Venus, over 100 times brighter than Mars, will be to the right of and slightly lower than Mars.

The previous evening the moon, a very thin crescent only 5% sunlit, will be about 6° below the planets. It will be best to look about 6pm while the moon is a few degrees up. On the 13th the moon, now 10% sunlit, will be 9° above the planets.

During the rest of July Venus draws ahead of Mars. The two planet pass close to Regulus, Venus on the 22nd and Mars on the 30th.

JUPITER and SATURN both rise well before midnight during July, with Jupiter rising 100 minutes after Saturn. By the end of the month Saturn rises as the sun sets. Hence both are well placed for viewing late evening.

The moon passes the two planets towards the end of July. On the morning of the 25th the moon, just past full, will be 3° from Saturn at 6am. On the evening of the 26th the moon will be just over 5° from Jupiter soon after they rise. Their separation will increase through the night.

URANUS and NEPTUNE move further up into the morning sky during July, Neptune being the higher. The moon passes Neptune twice in the month. On the morning of the 1st Neptune will be just over 4° to the left of the moon soon after midnight. On the morning of July 28 it will be a similar distance below the moon at 3am.

Uranus is closest to the moon on the morning of July 5. At 4am the planet will be less than 2° to the left of the moon.

PLUTO, in Sagittarius, is at opposition on the night of 17/18 July when it will be almost 5 billion km from the Earth. On the morning of July 24, Pluto will be less than 2° to the right of the full moon.


                  JULY 1 NZST          JULY 31 NZST  
                Mag  Cons  transit    Mag  Cons  transit
 (1) Ceres      9.2   Ari   8.59am    9.1   Tau   7.39am
 (2) Pallas    10.0   Peg   5.14am    9.5   Psc   3.17am
 (4) Vesta      7.7   Vir   5.28pm    7.9   Vir   4.14pm
 (6) Hebe       8.7   Aql   1.36am    8.5   Sgr  11.11pm
(12) Victoria   9.2   Aqr   2.23am    8.8   Aql  12.05am

CERES in the morning sky, rises at 3.36am on the 1st and at 2.25 am on the 31st when it will transit at 7.39 am It moves from Aries to Taurus on July 6.

PALLAS starts the month at magnitude 10, brightening to 9.5 by the 31st. It rises at 11:41 pm at the beginning of July and 9.38pm by then end. It moves from Pegasus to Pisces on July 16.

VESTA, an early evening object sets at 11 pm on the 1st and at 10.06 pm on the 31st.

HEBE brightens during the month to magnitude 8.8 by the 31st. The asteroid is at opposition mid month at magnitude 8.4. Hebe rises at 7.02pm on the 1st and 4.21pm on the 31st. It moves from Aquila to Sagittarius on July 25.

VICTORIA is at opposition on July 26 at magnitude 8.7. It rises at 8.08pm on the 1st and 5.57pm on the 31st. The asteroid moves from Aquarius to Aquila on July 6.

Brian Loader



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