Sky Map

Evening sky in July 2021

Take advantage of the longer nights to do some chilly stargazing, as prominent Winter constellations Scorpius (scorpion) and Sagittarius (archer) take centre stage overhead. This region reveals a treasure trove of fascinating celestial objects to explore with your binoculars (see the 2021 Sky Guide South Africa, available from local bookshops, for reference). 

In this region, you can find the impressive open star cluster Messier 6 (Butterfly Cluster) and Messier 4, a globular cluster (a group of older gravitationally bound stars) located close to the bright red star Antares in Scorpius. Nearer towards Sagittarius lies Messier 8 (Lagoon Nebula) huddled among several open clusters. M8 is a beautiful emission nebula, bright enough to observe with your naked eye in dark conditions.

This month,  keep an eye out for Venus and Mars low in the west just after sunset. These two bright planets will appear very close together, especially from 12 – 14 July where they will reside close to Leo (lion). Jupiter and Saturn rise mid-evening and can be found in Aquarius (water bearer) and Capricornus (sea goat) respectively.  The moon will be in the evening sky from 12 - 29 July with Full Moon on 24 July. This month, the Full Moon is known as the ‘Meerkat Moon’ in South Africa (visit to find out more).  

Star Map archive 2011 - 2017