July’s Bright Five Planets – Mars at its Brightest in 15 years

This July you can spot the brightest 5 planets from New York, with Mars putting a big show in his closest approach to Earth in 15 years. They are all visible by naked eye.  Keep in mind that the magnitude of brightness for the planets differs around the year depending on their distance from the sun and Earth.

  1. Venus, the closest planet to Earth, is the brightest object we can see in the night sky after the moon. It shines at about –4.0magnitude this July and you can see it around sunset until 10 PM towards the west. Venus is the goddess of love and beauty in Roman mythology, that is Aphrodite in Greek mythology.
  2. Jupiter, the largest planet in our system, will shine at –2.2and is viewed all night toward the west. Jupiter is the king of gods in Roman mythology which is Zeus in Greek mythology.
  3. Mars that comes third in brightness after Venus and Jupiter will outshine Jupiter this July at magnitude-2.5.Being at opposition and at its closest to Earth it will shine at -2.8 end of July 27th. After Venus sets around 10 PM, it will dominate the sky. Mars is the god of war in Roman mythology that is Ares in Greek mythology.  You can see it towards the south moving west, all night.
  4. Mercury, the closest plant to the sun, will have a brightness of0.0magnitude as it shows at the west in the first half of July until 9 PM. Mercury is the messenger god in Roman mythology and known as Hermes in Greek mythology.
  5. Ringed Saturn will shine in bright sliver with a1.0 magnitude towards the south moving west, all night. In Roman mythology, Saturn is the son of Uranus and Gaea. He’s a Titan and the father of the most powerful Olympian gods Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto and he’s known as Cronus in Greek Mythology. He’s the god of agriculture and often depicted with a sickle.

Seeing the Planets in NY

You can see all of the bright planets without any visual aid. However, you need small telescopes or binoculars to view more details. See Saturn rings, Jupiter moons, and Mars details by joining one of the AAA viewing teams in the five boroughs of New York City and look through their telescopes.

Sky charts for 15 July, after sunset

Sky chart for mid-July at 10:15PM EDT.
Sky Safari chart annotated by Peter Tagatac
Sky chart for mid-July at 9:00PM EDT.
Sky Safari chart annotated by Peter Tagatac




Encyclopedia Britannica