Astronomy Essentials

Visible planets and night sky guide: July 2022

On mornings in the first few days of July 2022, you can still see all five bright planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. But Mercury becomes increasingly tougher to see as the mornings pass (it’ll show up again in the evening sky before July ends). Venus, the brightest planet, continues its early morning dominance as it moves closer to the sunrise horizon. Three other bright planets arc across the morning sky, following the path the sun takes during the day. Mars brightens and appears redder this month; it’s getting easier to spot and identify. Jupiter – 2nd-brightest only to Venus – gleams high in the sky as dawn approaches. Saturn is fainter and in many ways the hardest of the five planets to spot. But Saturn has also shifted into the evening sky. It’s rising in mid-to-late evening this month, becoming more prominent as it approaches opposition in August. Plus a line between the other planets points to Saturn.

In this article:

Night sky guide for July 2022

Planetary lineup: How long can you see it?

Green line with a bunch of dots representing all 5 visible planets.
The first few days of July continues the opportunity to see an unusual planetary configuration with all 5 bright planets lying in order from the sun in the morning sky. Mercury hugs the morning horizon, then brilliant Venus, followed by red Mars, bright Jupiter and finally, Saturn. And, don’t forget our planet, the one you are standing on, Earth! You’ll be able to see the 5 planets until Mercury slips away in the morning twilight in early July. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July mornings: Jupiter lies in Cetus

Jupiter labelled in the constellation Cetus.
In July, Jupiter moves in a corner of the non-zodiacal constellation Cetus the Whale. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 7 evening: Moon near Spica

The moon labelled near Spica.
On the evening of July 7, the waxing gibbous moon glows next to Spica, brightest star in Virgo the Maiden. Spica is often said to represent an Ear of Wheat held by Virgo. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 10 evening: Moon near Antares

Waxing gibbous moon and Antares labelled.
On the evening of July 10, the bright waxing gibbous moon moves just above Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius the Scorpion. Fiery Antares represents the Heart of the Scorpion. Notice its red color and rapid twinkling! Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 11 and 12 evenings: Manhattanhenge

A crowd of people looking down the street, lined with buildings and a rising sun at the end.
Every year people in New York City look forward to Manhattanhenge. It’s a phenomenon where the sunset aligns perfectly with east-west oriented streets of Manhattan, particularly along 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets. This year’s Manhattanhenge is on the evenings of July 11 and 12. The full solar disk appears at the horizon on Monday, July 11, 2022 at 8:20 p.m. EDT. Then, the half disk alignment occurs the following day, Tuesday, July 12, at 8:21 p.m. EDT. This image shows Manhattanhenge on July 12, 2016, at 42nd Street. Tourists blocked an entire section of 42nd Street, including its intersection with 6th Avenue, to take pictures of the sunset. Image via Fred Hsu/ Wikimedia Commons.

July 13 overnight: Closest full supermoon of 2022!

July's full moon with Saturn and star labelled.
The July 2022 full moon comes on July 13. You’ll find it ascending in the east after sunset, its light overpowering all but the brightest stars. It’ll be up all night. This July 13 moon is also the closest full supermoon of 2022. On July 13, the moon will lie 222,089 miles (357,418 km) from Earth. That’s in contrast to its average distance of about 240,000 miles (385,000 km). Read more about the closest supermoon. The bright star Altair in the constellation Aquila the Eagle can be found near the moon on this night. Saturn will be rising not long after the moon. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 14 and 15 overnight: Saturn near moon

Saturn and the waning gibbous moon labelled.
On the nights of July 14 and 15, Saturn lies next to the very bright waning gibbous moon. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

In mid-July, with binoculars: Saturn near 2 stars in Capricornus

Saturn's east to west motion with 2 stars.
Saturn moves westward throughout July. In binoculars the planet can be seen slowly moving near 2 moderately bright stars in Capricornus: Gamma Capricorni and Delta Capricorni. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 18 and 19 mornings: Jupiter near the moon

Jupiter and the waning gibbous moon labelled.
The waning gibbous moon moves near Jupiter on the mornings of July 18 and 19. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 18-22 mornings, with binoculars: Venus near M35 cluster

Venus near M35, labelled.
In the mornings from July 18-22, Venus lies in the same binocular field as the delicate star cluster M35 in Gemini the Twins. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 21 morning: Mars next to the moon

Moon next to Mars, labelled.
In the early morning hours of July 21, red Mars lies directly next to the waning crescent moon. Viewers in Japan, northeast Russia, northwest Alaska, Svalbard and north Greenland see a lunar occultation; that is, the moon passes in front of the planet. Click here for info about the occultation. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 23 and 24 mornings: Moon near Aldebaran and Pleiades

Crescent moons near a star cluster and bright star.
On the mornings of July 23 and 24, the waning crescent moon is near the bright reddish star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull with the delicate star cluster Pleiades close by.

July 25 and 26 mornings: Moon near Venus

Circles of crescent moon near a red star and star cluster.
On the mornings of July 25 and 26, the waning crescent moon, along with earthshine, is near Venus. In addition, the bright reddish star nearby is Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull. Plus the beautiful star cluster Pleiades twinkles above all of them.

Late July and early August: Delta Aquariid meteor shower

Star chart showing the Great Square of Pegasus to Fomalhaut to the Delta Aquariid radiant point.
The nominal peak of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower is July 29. But the reality is that these meteors ramble along steadily throughout late July and early August. Delta Aquariid meteors radiate from near the star Skat, aka Delta Aquarii, in the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer. This star is near bright Fomalhaut in our sky. In late July to early August, Fomalhaut is highest around 2 a.m. (no matter where you are). It’s southward from the Northern Hemisphere, closer to overhead from the Southern Hemisphere. Fomalhaut appears bright and solitary in the sky. To find it, draw a line roughly southward through the stars on the west side of the Great Square of Pegasus.

July 30 and 31 mornings, planets with binoculars: Mars next to Uranus

Mars near dim Uranus, labelled.
In the early mornings of July 30 and 31, Mars can be seen in binoculars next to Uranus, the 7th planet from the sun. Uranus appears as a dim star. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

July 30 and 31 evenings: Mercury and the moon (Southern Hemisphere)

Mercury and crescent moon, labelled.
For Southern Hemisphere viewers on July 30 and 31, Mercury can be spotted hugging the horizon 40 minutes after sunset. On July 30 it lies below the thin waxing crescent moon, complete with earthshine. Mercury hugs the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere so may be very difficult to spot. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

Photos of planets from EarthSky’s community

Sliver of a moon in deep blue sky and dark trees.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ragini Chaturvedi in New Jersey captured this very young moon on June 30, 2022 and wrote: “Tiny three day old crescent Moon in the blue hour, tonight. Caught it just in the nick of time before it went below my horizon of view..” Thank you, Ragini!
Wide, twilit sky with five labeled planets above a tiny, distant lighthouse.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Miguel Sala in Alicante, Spain, captured this panorama of the bright planets on June 24, 2022. Miguel wrote: “The solar system: At sunrise on June 24, the planets visible to the unaided eye appeared aligned in the same position as they are in the solar system. Even the waning moon seemed to represent Earth’s position in the solar system.” Thanks, Miguel!
The planets are aligned between some buldings and trees.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Matthew Chin in Hong Kong, China, captured this stunning photo of the 5 bright planets and the moon on June 23, 2022. Matthew wrote: “2022 five planets – celestial parade, in Yuen Long, Hong Kong. The order of the planets in the solar system, starting nearest the sun and working outward is the following: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus.” Thank you, Matthew!

July-September 2022 heliocentric solar system planets

The sun-centered charts below come from Guy Ottewell. You’ll find charts like these for every month of 2022 in his Astronomical Calendar. Guy Ottewell explains:

In these views from ecliptic north, arrows (thinner when south of the ecliptic plane) are the paths of the four inner planets. Dots along the rest of the orbits are five days apart (and are black for the part of its course that a planet has trodden since the beginning of the year). Semicircles show the sunlit side of the new and full moon (vastly exaggerated in size and distance). Pairs of lines point outward to the more remote planets.

Phenomena such as perihelia (represented by ticks) and conjunctions (represented by lines between planets) are at dates that can be found in the Astronomical Calendar. Gray covers the half of the universe below the horizon around 10 p.m. at mid-month (as seen from the equator). The zodiacal constellations are in directions from the Earth at mid-month (not from the sun).

Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
View larger. | Heliocentric view of solar system, July 2022. Chart via Guy Ottewell.
Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
View larger. | Heliocentric view of the solar system, August 2022. Chart via Guy Ottewell.
Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
View larger. | Heliocentric view of solar system, September 2022. Chart via Guy Ottewell.

Some resources to enjoy

Don’t miss anything. Subscribe to daily emails from EarthSky. It’s free!

Visit EarthSky’s Best Places to Stargaze to find a dark-sky location near you.

Post your own night sky photos at EarthSky Community Photos.

Translate Universal Time (UTC) to your time.

See the indispensable Observer’s Handbook, from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Visit for precise views from your location.

Visit TheSkyLive for precise views from your location.

Back by popular demand! Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar for 2022.

Great resource and beautiful wall chart: Guy Ottewell’s zodiac wavy chart.

A modern chair, a large plant and the zodiac wavy chart on the wall.
Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy Chart is a 2-by-3 foot (0.6 by 0.9 meter) poster displaying the movements of the sun, moon and planets throughout the year. You can purchase it here.

Bottom line: Be sure to catch the five bright planets in the morning sky the first few days of July. After Mercury disappears from view there will be four bright planets visible in the morning sky. Mars continues brightening in the morning sky making it easier to spot the red planet.

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July 1, 2022
Astronomy Essentials

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