Venus, Mars and Regulus come together on July 9

Venus, Mars and Regulus trio

Venus is the brightest point of light in the night sky. In the beginning of July, it will be setting in the west less than two hours after sunset. When you look toward the fading colors of sunset, Venus will be the first light you see. The closest planet to Earth shines at magnitude -4.7 in the first half of the month. On July 9, 2023, if you wait for the sky to darken further, you’ll spot two points of light quite close together and above brilliant Venus. The slightly brighter and whiter light is Regulus, brightest star in Leo the Lion. And next to it is reddish Mars. These two worlds appear a bit more than a moon-width apart on both July 9 and 10.

Green ecliptic line with white dots for the Venus and Regulus and a red dot for Mars.
On the evening of July 9, 2023, bright Venus will lie below the much fainter Mars and Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion. The trio will fit within a 5 degree field. Also, Mars and Regulus will get as close as 0.7 degrees – a little more than the width of a full moon – apart that evening. Mars and Regulus will still be very close again the next evening. Use Stellarium to find a star chart for your precise location. And use binoculars to help spot them in the evening twilight. Mars will set around 10:30 p.m. (your local time). Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

The view in binoculars

To get a better look at this trio, try focusing on them with a pair of binoculars. Through binoculars, you may be able to see the crescent phase of Venus. Next, look for the white and red points of light close together in the same field of view. These are Regulus and Mars, respectively.

Mars should be a steady light, but Regulus might twinkle. That’s because Mars is closer to Earth. A star – such as Regulus – is quite far away, nothing more than a pinprick of light in our sky. So the undulating atmosphere of Earth that we peer through can make the point of Regulus jump around, while the more disk-like Mars stays steady.

Dark circle for binocular view with a red dot for Mars and white dots for Venus and Regulus.
The July 9, 2023, binocular view of the 2 planets – Venus and Mars – close to Regulus. In fact, Mars passes 0.7 degrees – a little more than a moon-width – from Regulus during the night. Mars and Regulus will still be close on July 10 also. Start looking about 30-45 minutes after sunset. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view from your location, try Stellarium online.

If you get a great photo of this event, send it to us! Submit your photo to EarthSky Community Photos.

Bottom line: You can see Venus, Mars and Regulus close together on July 9 and 10. Use binoculars to get a better view of the dimmer objects, a little more than a moon-width apart.

For more videos of great night sky events, visit EarthSky’s YouTube page.

For more night sky events visit EarthSky’s visible planets and night sky guide.

Read more: Venus brightest now in the evening sky for 2023

July 9, 2023

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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