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.

THE SUN and PLANETS in JULY 2019, Rise & Set,  Mag. & Cons.
            July 1     NZST            July 31     NZST  
      Mag  Cons    Rise    Set     Mag  Cons    Rise    Set
SUN  -26.7  Gem   7.45am  5.04pm  -26.7  Cnc   7.28am  5.26pm
Merc   1.1  Cnc   9.08am  7.00pm    2.2  Gem   6.23am  4.24pm
Venus -3.9  Tau   6.55am  4.10pm   -3.9  Cnc   7.21am  5.02pm
Mars   1.8  Cnc   9.07am  6.38pm   .1.8  Leo   8.07am  6.18pm
Jup   -2.6  Oph   3.18pm  6.16am   -2.4  Oph   1.11pm  4.08am
Sat    0.1  Sgr   5.33pm  8.28am    0.2  Sgr   3.24pm  6.22am
Uran   5.8  Ari   2.39am  1.15pm    5.8  Ari  12.45am 11.19am
Nep    7.9  Aqr  10.39pm 11.26am    7.8  Aqr   8.39pm  9.27am
Pluto 14.4  Sgr   5.51pm  8.47pm   14.4  Sgr   3.50pm  6.47am

               July 1  NZST               July 31  NZST
Twilights    morning     evening        morning     evening
Civil:    start 7.16am, end  5.33pm   start 7.01am, end 5.54pm
Nautical: start 6.42am, end  6.08pm   start 6.28am, end 6.27pm
Astro:    start 6.08am, end  6.41pm   start 5.55am, end 7.00pm

  New moon:      Jul..3 at  7.16am (Jul  2, 19:16 UT)
  First quarter: Jul  9 at 10.55pm (10:55 UT).
  Full Moon:     Jun 17 at  9.38am (Jul 16, 21:38 UT)
  Last quarter   Jun 25 at  1.18pm (01:18 UT).

A total eclipse of the Sun occurs on July 2 (July 3 NZ time). The path of totality arcs across the South Pacific starting at sunrise several degrees east of New Zealand. It ends just south of Buenos Aries at sunset.

A partial umbral eclipse of the moon occurs a fortnight later. Only the very early stages of the penumbral eclipse are visible from New Zealand. Australia, especially the west, sees more of the eclipse.

More information about both eclipses can be found on the RASNZ web site.

PLANETS in July 2019.

MERCURY and MARS start July as very early evening objects, quite close to one another. An hour after sunset on the 1st it may be possible to glimpse Mercury some 9° above the horizon and 35° to the north of due west, as seen from Wellington. Mars will be even lower and a little fainter. Mercury in particular will get lower each following evening, particularly after it is stationary on the 7th. The following evening Mars will move past it to become the higher object.

Mercury is at inferior conjunction on the 21st when it will be 5° south of the Sun. After conjunction Mercury moves into the morning sky, but will remain too close to the Sun for observation during the rest of July.

Meanwhile Mars, still in the evening sky and the Sun will slowly get closer, making it impossible to see the planet.

The presence of the moon on the 4th as a very thin crescent less than 2 days old and just below Mars will be a challenge to see.

JUPITER and SATURN are well placed for viewing during July, especially by mid evening. Jupiter will be higher in the evening sky, although by the 31st the two planets will be at similar altitudes at 10pm, with Jupiter further west than Saturn.

Saturn is at opposition on July 10 at 5 am.

The path of this month's occultation of Saturn by the moon takes place on the 16th. It misses New Zealand by a very small amount, the outer limit of the graze path just touching North Cape where the event occurs at 5.50 pm, a few hours before full moon. The Sun will be only 3° below the horizon.

The moon passes Jupiter on the morning of July 14. For NZ the two are 4° apart, shortly before moonset about 5 am.

VENUS rises 50 minutes before the Sun on the 1st and only 7 minutes before it on the 31st. Thus it is a difficult morning object all month

URANUS is a morning object in Aries.

NEPTUNE, in Aquarius, rises well before midnight by the end of July.

PLUTO is close behind Saturn, rising slightly later. It is at opposition 5 days later than Saturn.

BRIGHTEST ASTEROIDS in JULY, mag. const. time of transit

               JULY 1     NZDT      JULY 31    NZST  
               Mag  Cons  transit    Mag  Cons  transit
(1)  Ceres     7.8   Lib   9.43pm    8.4   Lib   7.42pm
(2)  Pallas    9.4   Boo   7.22pm    9.8   Boo   5.47pm
(4)  Vesta     8.3   Cet   8.16am    8.1   Ari   6.57am
(15) Eunomia   9.3   Aqr   3.32am    8.5   Aqr...1.17am
(18) Melpomene 9.3   Sct  12.23am    9.6   Ser   9.58pm

CERES is in Libra about 16° west (left) of Jupiter. The asteroid is stationary mid month when its apparent motion reverts to easterly.

PALLAS is an evening object in Bootes. The asteroid will be 15 arc-minutes, half the diameter of the full moon, from eta Boo, mag 2.7, on the evening of July 25. At the end of July Pallas will be just over 4° from Arcturus.

VESTA is in the morning sky, rising by 1.30 am on the 31st. It moves into Aries a day earlier.

EUNOMIA brightens to magnitude 8.5 during July. At the end of the month, the asteroid will be 45 arc-minutes from beta Aqr, mag2.9.

MELPOMENE is at opposition on July 1. Following opposition it starts to fade again. On the 17th Melpomene crosses into Serpens.

Brian Loader