In July, four deep-sky objects will be in the best position in the sky; three of them may be seen with the naked eye. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
How to find deep-sky objects in the sky?
Before you go hunting for deep-sky objects, install Sky Tonight or Star Walk 2. With their help, it takes only a couple of taps on your smartphone screen to find any object in the night sky. Here are brief instructions for each of them:
- Sky Tonight: open the app and tap on the magnifier icon at the bottom of the main screen. Type the name of the object you want to find into the search field. Pick the corresponding result and tap the blue target icon. The app will show you the position of the object on the sky map. Tap the big blue button (or just point your device up) and follow the white arrow to find the object in the real night sky.
- Star Walk 2: open the app and tap on the magnifier icon in the bottom left corner of the main screen. Type the name of the object you want to find into the search field. Tap the corresponding result. The app will show you the position of the object on the sky map. Tap the compass icon in the upper left corner of the screen (or just point your device up) and follow the white arrow to find it in the real night sky.
Brightest star clusters in July
July 1: The Sagittarius Cluster (M22)
Messier 22 (NGC 6656, the Sagittarius Cluster) is a globular cluster located in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered in 1665 and became one of the first objects of its kind ever found. Also, it is one of the four globular clusters to host a planetary nebula.
M22 has an apparent magnitude of 5.1, so it requires perfect vision and ideally dark skies to see it with the naked eye. Optical devices will help to get a better picture. The cluster will rise high in the southern sky; observers located north of 46°N will not be able to see it.
July 2: The Tweedledee Cluster (IC 4756)
IC 4756 (the Graff’s Cluster, the Secret Garden Cluster, the Tweedledee Cluster) is an open cluster located in the constellation Serpens. Together with NGC 6633, they make up a duo of the Tweedledee and Tweedledum clusters, named after the characters of Lewis Carroll’s book “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”.
IC 4756 has an apparent magnitude of 4.6 and is visible at latitudes between 75°N and 64°S. It is bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye (if the sky is not light-polluted). It’s a good target for binoculars and small telescopes.
July 10: The Great Peacock Globular (NGC 6752)
NGC 6752 (Caldwell 93, the Great Peacock Globular) is the third-brightest globular cluster in the sky (magnitude 5.4). It can be found in the constellation Pavo.
NGC 6752 is one of the few globular star clusters that can be seen with the naked eye (away from light-polluted big cities). With binoculars, it can be seen to cover an area three-quarters the size of the Full Moon. The cluster is best observed from the Southern Hemisphere; stargazers located north of 10°N will not be able to see it.
July 17: The Summer Rose Star (M55)
Messier 55 (NGC 6809, the Summer Rose Star) is a globular cluster located in the constellation Sagittarius. The cluster shining at a magnitude of 6.3 makes a good binocular target. Medium-sized telescopes will provide a view of individual stars.
The cluster will rise high in the sky above the Southern Hemisphere and won’t be observable from latitudes north of 39°N.
Deep-sky objects tonight: best targets for your location
In July, star clusters mentioned above favor the Southern Hemisphere, but it doesn’t mean the other parts of the celestial sphere have no notable targets! To learn what deep-sky objects you can observe, do the following:
1. Launch Sky Tonight and tap the telescope icon at the bottom to access the “Visible Tonight” window.
2. Choose either:
2.1. Scroll the list to the “Deep-sky objects” section OR
2.2. Tap the top panel of the window and deselect all icons except the galaxy icon to filter the list. Then you can sort the visible DSOs by magnitude, for example.
3. Tap the blue target on any object to see where it will become observable in the sky.
For a comprehensive guide on “Visible Tonight”, refer to our video tutorial.
Deep-sky objects near the Moon in July
In July 2023, we will see a bright deep-sky object near the Moon.
July 13: Moon near the Pleiades
On July 13, at 06:31 GMT (02:31 a.m. EDT), our natural satellite (magnitude -9.5) will pass 1.7° from the Pleiades (magnitude 1.2) in the constellation Taurus. With the condition of the dark, clear skies, the thin, 19%-illuminated lunar crescent will be visible to the naked eye, as well as the bright star cluster. You can use binoculars for a better view.
Now you know all you need about the deep-sky objects that are best seen in July 2023. Note that the dates mentioned above are not the only days the DSOs can be seen: they usually are at the peak of visibility for around a month. Check our article about the top 15 star clusters that can be spotted with the naked eye — some of them may be visible right now in your region. Also, share this article with your friends via messengers or social media, and enjoy stargazing together!
We wish you clear skies and happy observations!