Namibia's Night Sky In July: One Planet In The Evening, Three In The Morning

1 Jul 2024

The Milky Way and the Southern Cross are highlights in the southern night sky, no matter when you look at them. But planets are mainly visible early in the morning in July, as in the past two months.

Mars appears on the eastern sky at around 3.20 a.m., followed by Jupiter from 4.30 a.m. Saturn, the ringed planet, rises at 10.30 p.m., passes its highest point at 4.40 a.m. and can be seen in a westerly direction until sunrise.

Only Mercury, which is closest to the sun, can be observed in the evening. It sets in the north-west at around 8.15 a.m.. Venus, also incorrectly referred to as the morning or evening star because of its brightness, remains invisible in July. It rises at 8.15 a.m. and sets at 7.10 p.m., so it is situated pretty much between the earth and the sun for the whole month.

One of the highlights in Namibia's night sky: The Southern Cross.  Photo: Wikipedia


Another astronomical event: On 5 July, the earth is at its furthest distance from the sun. This is also known as aphelion. The Earth comes closest to the sun (perihelion) on 4 January next year.

Which also makes it clear that the seasons have nothing to do with the Earth's distance from the sun. They are caused by the fact that the Earth's axis is tilted. This means that, viewed from the northern and southern hemispheres, the sun appears now higher and then lower in the sky over the course of the year.

You can find out more about the starry sky in June in the Astro-News by Lutz von Dewitz in the news section on the website of the Namibia Scientific Society.

Sven-Eric Stender

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