Click here to see rising and setting times for this week.
It should not be hard to keep track of Mercury’s setting time this week. On Sunday through Wednesday nights, the planet will set at 9:34 PM in New York, and it sets only 1 minute earlier on every other day this week. You can find Mercury very low in the west (below and to the right of Venus) about 30-45 minutes after sunset. Binoculars may help. Venus is setting earlier throughout the week, but you will have plenty of opportunities to see this Evening Star in the dusk. Look for Venus in Leo, setting around 10:30 PM. Mars is above and to the left of Venus and is just below and to the right of Saturn. The red planet sets around 11 PM each night. Jupiter rises shortly after 11 PM in Pisces and rises high in the south by sunrise. Saturn is very close to, and brighter than, Mars this week. The planet is in Virgo, in the west, at sunset and sets after 11 PM.
The Moon begins the week at First Quarter, occurring officially early on Sunday morning. You will get more and more Moon each night that follows, as the waxing gibbous shape stays up later and later. By the end of the week, the Moon will not set until just before sunrise.
Can’t wait for the Perseids in August? Actually you don’t have to. While the meteor shower does not peak until next month, the Perseid meteor shower has already begun. Activity in this major meteor shower actually begins on July 13 and runs through the end of August! You probably will not see much in the way of a shower this early in the activity period, but a few stray shooting stars are a definite possibility.
To view the early Perseids, observe from a dark location when the Moon is not bright. The best time is after midnight, especially in a week with an early-setting Moon. The Perseid meteor shower appears to radiate from Perseus.
Click here to go to the New York City sky viewing archive.