Saturday, July 2, 2016

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Planets You Can See in July

Happy July! I'm going to start a new series at the beginning of each month where I share what planets you can see outside during that month!

We love astronomy, and my kids are always asking about the names of stars, planets, and constellations.  I decided that since other kids probably wonder too, I'd tell you all! Plus, July is an awesome month for star-gazing!!  You can look for these planets with your own kids or encourage kids you teach to look for them with their families. In July, all the planets appear at sunset!

I will be sharing information for viewing the planets from North America, since that's where we live. I love the rest of the world...I just can't cover every part of the world in one post!

During July, you can see five planets at different times of the month!

Jupiter is the brightest "star" in the sky after the sun sets. You can find it in the western sky at sunset. Jupiter will disappear below the horizon late in the evening.

Mars and Saturn appear from sunset until about midnight when you face South. Mars will be just to the right of Saturn. Mars looks a little brighter than Saturn, and Saturn looks a little brighter than Antares (a star that looks like it forms a dot-to-dot triangle with Mars and Saturn this month). Next month, Mars and Saturn will appear right on top of each other!

Venus and Mercury are hard to see this month because they are so close to the western horizon at sunset. It is still possible, and even easier to find them if you have binoculars or a telescope. Venus is brighter than Mercury and closer to the horizon. The best time to see them is about 30 minutes after the sun drops below the horizon. A few minutes later, and Venus and Mercury will also drop below the horizon. On July 16, if you are lucky, you can see a Mercury-Venus conjunction (where they appear on top of each other)! These two planets will continue to climb higher in the sky and be much easier to see in August and September.

Do you love STEM topics? If so, you will want to see this idea:

You will also want to check out my collection of more than 150 preschool science activities and STEM challenges! Many are appropriate for both preschool AND older kids too!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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