Breakdown: Why you should look up in the sky this week

Breakdown: Why you should look up in the sky this week
Comet NEOWISE over the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County. Photo via Stacey Galloway Reid‬ (Source: Stacey Galloway Reid‬)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This week of July 20 is a great week for looking up at the sky. Plus the moon is in the new moon phase and so the lack of moonlight will mean a great week of observing galaxies and stars. There will be a few nights this week where skies will be mostly clear at night too.

  • July 20 - Saturn will be in opposition. This means that the planet will be at its closest approach to Earth. Plus the ringed planet will be illuminated by the Sun. This is the time to observe the planet because it will be at it’s brightest than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. Astronomers say this is the best time viewing and for photo opps of Saturn and its moons. A telescope will be your best bet for viewing and astronomers suggest a medium-sized or larger telescope will allow not only allow you to see Saturn’s rings but possibly a few of its moons.
  • July 22 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. This means the planet Mercury will reach it’s greatest western elongation of 20.1 degrees from the Sun. Astronomers say that this is the best time to view Mercury. The planet will be at its highest point above the horizon during the morning hours. You may also be able to catch a glimpse of Mercury low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
  • Comet Neowise is best seen through July 23rd but will be visible through the end of July. It will be visible 2 hours after sunset. Look toward the north to northwest. This comet was discovered this year on March 27th. It is visible to the naked eye and has a bright tail. It won’t be visible again until 8786!
Comet NEOWISE over the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County. Photo via Stacey Galloway Reid‬
Comet NEOWISE over the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County. Photo via Stacey Galloway Reid‬ (Source: Stacey Galloway Reid‬)

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