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SPACE: What’s up this month – Milky Way, Mars and Saturn

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – As we shoot off our own man-made fireworks this week celebrating our Independence, and nature continues to provide its own fireworks with strong to severe thunderstorms, it reminds me it’s time to check on what’s up in the bigger sky for July in space! Watch the above NASA video for some great save-the-date moments in space this month, along with a preview of the upcoming landing of the new Mars rover Curiosity.

For the Fourth of July, here’s something to check out (if weather permits) other than the fireworks:

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

All month, there will also be a cluster of objects vertically aligned in the eastern pre-dawn sky. Here’s an example from the middle of the month, but any morning will be essentially the same.

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

Two especially good viewing opportunities in space this month are on July 24 and 25, when the Moon, the planets Saturn and Mars, and the star Spica will all be in the western sky after sunset.

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

The planets Mars and Saturn will be very close to each other by the end of July, nearing their close pairing in August.

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

NASA/Jane Jones, JPL

The planets will be closely paired when the new Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to land:

CLICK HERE to check for sky watching opportunities across the country this month.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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