Venus, Mars, and Regulus come together on July 9th

Trine of Venus, Mars and Regulus

Venus is the brightest point of light in the night sky. At the beginning of July, it will set in the west less than two hours after sunset. When you look towards the fading colors of the sunset, Venus will be the first light you see. The closest planet to Earth shines at -4.7 magnitude in the first half of the month. On July 9, 2023, if you wait until the sky gets darker, you will spot two points of light very close together and above the bright planet Venus. The brightest and whitest light is Regulus, the brightest star in Leo Leo. Next to it is red Mars. These two worlds appear to be little more than a moon’s width apart from each other on July 9 and 10.

On the evening of July 9, 2023, bright Venus will lie beneath fainter Mars and Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, Leo. The triple will fit within a 5 degree field. Also, Mars and Regulus will come within 0.7 degrees — a little more than the width of the full moon — away that evening. Mars and Regulus will be very close again the next evening. Uses Stellarium.org To find a star chart for your exact location. Use binoculars to help spot them in the evening. Mars will set at around 10:30 PM (your local time). Graph via John Jardine Goss/Earthsky.

binocular view

To get a better look at this trio, try focusing on them with binoculars. Through binoculars, you may be able to see the crescent phase of Venus. Next, find the white and red points of light close together in the same field of view. These are Regulus and Mars, respectively.

Mars should be a steady light, but Regulus might twinkle. That’s because Mars is closer to Earth. A star – like Regulus – so far away, nothing more than a prick of light in our sky. So Earth’s undulating atmosphere through which we stare can make Regulus point jump around, while disk-like Mars remains stationary.

Dark circle for binocular viewing with a red dot for Mars and white dots for Venus and Regulus.
July 9, 2023, binocular view of two planets – Venus and Mars – near Regulus. In fact, Mars passes 0.7 degrees — slightly more than the width of the Moon — from Regulus during the night. Mars and Regulus will still be close on July 10, too. Start searching 30-45 minutes after sunset. Graph via John Jardine Goss/Earthsky.

Our charts are mostly set for the Northern Hemisphere. To see an accurate view of your location, try Stellarium online.

If you get a great photo of the event, send it to us! Submit your photo to the EarthSky community photo gallery.

Bottom line: You can see Venus, Mars, and Regulus close together on July 9 and 10. Use binoculars to get a better view of the faint objects, separated by a distance of just over the width of the Moon.

For more videos of amazing night sky events, visit EarthSky YouTube page.

For more night sky events, visit EarthSky’s Visible Planets and Night Sky Guide.

Read more: Venus is now brightest in the evening sky for 2023

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