Celestial Events in July 2024: Mercury at Its Best and 4 Meteor Showers!

~7 min

See the bright planets shine next to the Moon this month! Also, don't miss the best time to see Mercury and enjoy the Full Buck Moon. Get the interactive sky map to easily identify planets, stars, comets, and other celestial objects.


Astronomical events in July 2024

Note that the event dates are provided in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), so the dates may vary for different time zones. To find out exactly when you can see the event from where you are, use the Sky Tonight app.

*The highlighted events are the best visible events of the month.

About magnitude: the faintest magnitude for stars and planets visible to the naked eye in cities with moderate light pollution is about 4. The limiting magnitude of an optical device depends on its specification but rarely exceeds 11.

Bortle Scale of Light Pollution
Wondering if you can spot that galaxy or nebula from your backyard? 🌌Our infographic has the answers! Here we use the Bortle Scale to illustrate how light pollution affects what you see. Get to know the night sky and enhance your stargazing experience!
See Infographic

Planets in July 2024

Northern Hemisphere

Mercury (mag 0.1) is visible in the northwest sky in the evening, moving from Cancer to Leo. Venus is very close to the Sun, so it is barely visible.

In the morning, look for three planets that are easily visible to the naked eye. Reddish Mars (mag 1.0) can be seen in the eastern sky, starting the month in Aries and then moving to Taurus. Bright Jupiter (mag -1.9) is low above the eastern horizon in Taurus. Saturn (mag 0.9) appears in Aquarius.

For those with binoculars, Uranus (mag 5.7) can be found in the eastern sky in Taurus. Fainter Neptune (mag 7.9) is visible at night and in the morning in the southeast sky in Pisces.

Southern Hemisphere

Mercury (mag 0.1) can be seen in the northwest sky during the evening, first in Cancer and then moving to Leo. At the end of the month, Venus (mag -3.9) appears in the evening sky in Cancer, very low over the horizon.

Mars (mag 1.0) appears in the northeastern sky in the morning, beginning the month in Aries and then moving to Taurus. Jupiter (mag -1.9) is also visible in the northeast during the morning hours, in Taurus. Saturn (mag 0.9) is visible at night and in the morning in Aquarius.

With binoculars or a telescope, Uranus (mag 5.7) can be seen in the northeast during the morning hours in Taurus. Neptune (mag 7.9) is visible in Pisces at night and in the morning.

Constellations in July 2024

July, the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, is the best time to observe three constellations — Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila. The brightest stars from these constellations form the Summer Triangle, one of the most famous asterisms in the sky (learn how to spot it from our dedicated article).

In the Southern Hemisphere, where July is the winter month, observers get an opportunity to see Scorpius, Sagittarius, and Ophiuchus high in the sky. To learn more about special features within these constellations and star patterns that are best seen during other months, see our dedicated articles for the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.

Moon and planets in July 2024

The night sky in July will be filled with amazing sights as the Moon meets various planets.

Start watching on July 1, when you can see the red planet Mars near the thin, 28% illuminated Moon a few hours before sunrise. On July 3, bright Jupiter will appear close to the Moon, which will be even thinner at 7% illumination. Look for them in the eastern sky.

On July 24, the ringed planet Saturn will be close to the nearly full Moon. You can see both with the naked eye, but use binoculars if you want to see Saturn's rings. (By the way, its rings will disappear from view in March 2025). If you're in eastern Africa or southern Asia, you'll see Saturn hiding behind the Moon.

At the end of July, Mars and Jupiter will be close to the Moon again. On the morning of July 30, look east a few hours before sunrise to see these planets — they’ll be easily visible to the naked eye. The thin crescent Moon nearby will provide a great photo opportunity.

Read more: What planet is next to the Moon tonight?

Full Moon in July 2024

On July 21, 2024, the Full Buck Moon will light up the sky! The Moon will reach its full phase at 10:17 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT), but it will look fully illuminated the day before and the day after that exact moment. So you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the Full Moon.

The July Full Moon has different names, the most popular being “Buck Moon” and “Thunder Moon”. The name “Buck Moon” was given by Native American tribes who associated this time of year with young male deer (bucks) sprouting new antlers. For the meaning of the Thunder Moon and other nicknames, see our dedicated article.

Best time to view Mercury

On July 22, Mercury will reach its maximum elongation, meaning it will appear farthest from the Sun in the sky. Although Mercury is bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, its proximity to the Sun usually makes it difficult to spot. However, during its greatest elongation, sunlight doesn't interfere as much, giving you a perfect opportunity to observe the planet.

Take advantage of this event! Mercury reaches its maximum elongation only about six times a year. You can see the planet in the evening just above the northwestern horizon. To confirm that you are looking at Mercury indeed, use the Sky Tonight app.

Comets in July 2024

The best comet to observe in July is the short-period comet 13P/Olbers. After reaching its maximum brightness (mag 6.7) on June 30, it will remain at nearly the same brightness throughout the month. To view this comet, grab a pair of binoculars and look about two hours after sunset, pointing northwest. For detailed visibility forecasts and more information on 13P/Olbers, see our dedicated article.

Potentially the best comet of 2024, C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) is expected to be visible to the naked eye in September-October of this year. Currently, with a magnitude of about 9-10, it is visible through small telescopes. Throughout July, C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) can be observed from both hemispheres, although it appears higher in the sky in southern latitudes. To spot the comet, look towards the low western horizon in the evenings. By August, the comet will no longer be visible as it moves too close to the Sun.

Meteor showers in July 2024

In July, four meteor showers will hit their peak activity. Early in the month, the Northern Hemisphere will see the July Pegasids, which will display up to 5 meteors per hour — a relatively modest show. More fun is expected at the end of the month.

On July 28, the July γ-Draconids will reach their maximum, delivering about 5 meteors per hour at their peak. Following closely, on July 31, the Southern δ-Aquariids will offer a more impressive display with 25 meteors per hour, alongside the α-Capricornids, which will also peak at 5 meteors per hour.

Although most meteor showers peaking in July offer fewer meteors, the Southern Delta Aquariids promise a worthwhile view, particularly for observers in the Southern Hemisphere. Fortunately, this peak will take place a few days before the New Moon, so moonlight won’t obscure the view.

Learn more: Discover more details about the summer's meteor showers.

How to navigate the night sky?

To find any celestial object, use an interactive sky map like the Sky Tonight mobile app. This particular app is free and has one of the largest constantly updated databases. Sky Tonight works offline, so you can even use it while camping or hiking. Basically, all you need to do is launch the app and point your device at the sky. To learn how to explore the night sky like a pro, check out our video tutorials.

Astronomical events in July: Bottom line

From the Moon meeting several planets to the best time to see Mercury — in July 2024, the night sky will be full of astronomical events. You can enjoy these sights with just your eyes or with binoculars for a closer look. Be sure to catch the four meteor showers peaking this month! Use the Sky Tonight app to find out where to look in the sky and make sure you don't miss any of these great moments.