Stargazing in July

how to learn stargazing

Summer offers sumptuous views of the night sky. Here are some stellar objects to see this month.
Click on your location: Northern hemisphere | Southern hemisphere

Northern hemisphere

Star map in July in the Northern hemisphere

Stargazing in July in the northern hemisphere

1) Deneb

Observation hours: all night.

The star Deneb, or Alpha Cygni, is one of the brightest stars in the sky. It is a little less brilliant than Vega in the Lyra constellation. But while the latter is only 25 light years from the Sun, Deneb is more than 1500 light years from our star. If Deneb was only 25 light years from our solar system, its brightness would mask almost all the other stars in the sky.


2) Ring Nebula

Observation hours: all night.

Nicknamed the ring nebula because of its shape when viewed through a telescope, M57 is one of the brightest planetary nebulae. But the expression “planetary nebula” is inappropriate because such an object has no relation to a planet. It is a gas bubble that was ejected from a star similar to the Sun when its core collapsed to form a white dwarf.

m57 ring nebula

3) M39 open cluster

Observation hours: all night.

M39 is a very large open cluster in the Cygnus constellation. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1764 and its distance is estimated at 825 light years from us. Its age is uncertain, probably between 230 and 300 million years old. Seen through a small telescope, it looks like a group of bright stars on a diffuse bright background. It is fairly easily observable using binoculars.

m39 open cluster

4) M11 open cluster

Observation hours: all night.

M11 is an open cluster known as the Wild Duck Cluster. Through binoculars, it looks like flying ducks. Through a telescope, the stars appear compact, almost like a globular cluster. It is indeed one of the densest star clusters known. It contains approximately 2900 stars and is estimated to be around 250 million years old. It is located in the Shield of Sobieski constellation.

M11 open cluster

Southern hemisphere

Star map in July in the Southern hemisphere

Stargazing in July in the southern hemisphere

1) Fomalhaut

Observation hours: all night.

The brightest star in the Southern Fish constellation has at least one planet orbiting it and a protoplanetary disk. It is younger and almost twice as massive as the Sun. Its age is estimated at 400 million years. It is 25 light years from Earth. Its name comes from Arabic and means “the mouth of the fish”.


2) M55 globular cluster

Observation hours: from dusk to dawn.

Through binoculars, M55 looks like a faint ball of fuzzy light. Messier listed this object from his Paris observatory. M55 extends a little too low to the latitude of Paris to be easily observable. In the southern hemisphere, on the other hand, it is higher in the sky and therefore easier to observe. It is about 17,600 light years from Earth.

m55 globular cluster

3) NGC 6744 Galaxy

Observation hours: all night.

Its similarity to the Milky Way makes the observation of NGC 6744 interesting with a medium-sized telescope. It has unequal spiral arms enveloping a dense elongated core. It appears clearly on long exposure astrophotographs. Its distance from Earth is estimated at 30 million light years. Its small luminous surface makes this galaxy difficult to observe with small telescopes.

ngc 6744 galaxy

4) NGC 6723 globular cluster

Observation hours: from dusk to dawn.

Located in the Sagittarius constellation, this bright cluster is close to the limit with the Southern Crown constellation. It is located 28,400 light years away and its age is estimated at 13.06 billion years, almost as old as the universe. It is bright enough to be seen through binoculars. It looks like a faint diffuse light spot.

ngc 6723 globular cluster

Image credits

  • Ring Nebula: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA) / Public domain
  • M39 open cluster: Credit: 2MASS/NASA.
  • M11 open cluster: Source: NASA Picture of the Day
  • Fomalhaut: Davide De Martin / Public domain
  • M5 globular cluster: NASA
  • NGC 6744 Galaxy: ESO / CC BY (
  • NGC 6723 globular cluster: en:NASA, en:STScI, en:WikiSky / Public domain