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.
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 a 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-quarter 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 and the Moon
In July 2022, two deep-sky objects will pass near the Moon.
July 1: the Moon meets the Beehive Cluster
On July 1, at 13:21 GMT, the Moon will get close to M44, or the Beehive cluster. The distance between them will be 3.9°. The cluster will shine at a magnitude of 3.1 in the constellation Cancer, and the 5%-illuminated waxing crescent Moon will be barely visible; look for it in the constellation Taurus.
July 23: the Moon meets the Pleiades
On July 23, at 03:29 GMT, the Moon will pass the Pleiades at a distance of 3.7° while visiting the constellation Taurus. The cluster (magnitude 3.1) will be shining near the waning crescent Moon (magnitude -11.06). Observe the scene via binoculars a few hours before sunrise.
Now you know all you need about the deep-sky objects that are best seen in July 2022. 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!