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July 2019

Sky Report - July 2019

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

First Quarter of July (1-8)

Dawn begins at 4:35 a.m., sunrise is 5:52 p.m., mid day is 1:20 p.m., sunset is 8:44 p.m. and dusk ends at 10 p.m. Sunlight lasts 14 hrs. and 54 min. On July 2, the moon swings from the morning to the evening side of the sun. This is the start of the lunar phase cycle, growing from a dark moon to half full onto full. After full moon, the lighted part of the moon will shrink, into half full and then disappear in the dawn at the end of July. In the late afternoon of July 4, the earth will be farthest from the sun at a distance of 94.4 million miles. The reason for the seasons is the tilt of the Earth’s axis, with its northern tip now toward the sun, bringing a higher sun and longer hours of sunlight.The sun now appears in the star group Gemini. From July 5 through the 7th, the moon moves across Leo, being near Leo’s sickle on the 5th and underneath Leo’s tail on the 7th.

Second Quarter of July (8-16)

Dawn begins at 4:44 a.m., sunrise is 5:57 a.m., mid day is 1:20 p.m., sunset is 8:44 p.m. and dusk ends at 9:56 p.m. Sunlight lasts 14 hrs. and 46 min. On July 9, the planet Saturn is closest and brightest, rising about sunset and staying in view all night long. Saturn is now in the star group Sagittarius. It is 839 million miles from the Earth; Saturn’s light takes 1 hour and 24 minutes to travel to the Earth. Late in the evening, Saturn appears as a bright point of light, shining steadily in the Southeast. To the right of Saturn is the brighter planet Jupiter. On July 10, the evening moon appears half full with its right half in sunlight. Along the moon’s straight edge, the sun there is rising, lighting up the raised crater rims. The evenings of July 9-11 are best for spotting the moon’s surface features with a telescope. On Saturday, July 13 the moon appears above and to the left of the planet Jupiter. On July 16, the moon is full, rising about sunset and staying in view all night long.

Third Quarter of July (16-24)

Dawn begins at 4:52 a.m. sunrise is 6:02 a.m., mid day is 1:21 p.m., sunset is 8:40 p.m. and dusk ends at 9:50 p.m. Sunlight lasts 14 hrs. and 36 min. After the full moon on July 16, the moon begins to shrink in lighted width as it rises later each evening. Two of the best zodiac groups, Scorpius and Sagittarius are well seen low in the southern evening sky. On the right, the brighter stars of the Scorpion resembles a starry ‘J’. On the right side of Scorpius is the bright pink star Antares, whose name means ‘rival of Mars’. The Scorpion’s stinger on the lower left has two bright stars close together. On the left is Sagittarius, whose brighter stars resemble an old fashioned tea kettle. The bright planet Saturn is to the left of the Tea Kettle. The even brighter planet Jupiter appears above the Scorpion.

Fourth Quarter of July (24-31)

Dawn begins at 5 a.m., sunrise is 6:09 a.m., mid day is 1:22 p.m., sunset is 8:34 p.m. and dusk ends at 9:42 p.m. Sunight lasts 14 hrs. and 25 min. The morning moon appears half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn on July 23. Since the moon is now absent from the evening sky, the end of July is an idea time for sky gazing, High in the South is the Summer Triangle, a trio of bright stars, with Vega as its brightest star, In the North Northwest is the Big Dipper of 7 stars. It is in a position to hold soup with its 3 handle stars and 4 bowl stars on the right, The two bowl stars at the end point up and right to the North Star, a modest star about half way up in the North. During the night, as the Earth rotates, the stars, planets and moon appear to move counterclockwise about the North Star. This is because the northern axis of the Earth very nearly is aimed at the North Star.

Any questions about the sky or my portable planetarium, you can email me at

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