Look up into the southeast sky early Thursday (July 21) to see the waning crescent moon shining close to Mars.
The pair will be close enough to share the field of view through the binoculars. According to astronomer Chris Vaughan of Astrogeo.ca, who produces Space.com’s monthly review, you’ll find Mars’ signature red dot just a few fingers down to the left (or 4 degrees celestial east-northeast) of the Moon. Night Sky Calendar in collaboration with Simulation Curriculum.
The exact time of the event depends on your specific location, so you’ll need to check a sky-watching app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to check the time. Our selection of the best stargazing apps can help you plan ahead.
Related: Brightest planets in July night sky: how to see them (and when)
When the sky begins to lighten around 5 a.m. local time, the Moon and Mars will pass about half the height of the southeast sky.
If you don’t get to see the couple on Thursday, don’t be discouraged, as you may be able to see them together the following morning (Friday, July 22), as the moon will be slightly lower to the left (celestial east) of Mars, according to Vaughan.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and perhaps one of the most distinctive planets in the night sky because of its famous red hue. It gets its color from the oxidation or rusting of iron-rich minerals in its regolith, the loose dust and rocks that cover its surface.
If you’re looking for a telescope or binoculars to look at the night sky, our guides to the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals can help. Want something more specific to the planet? Our best planetary telescopes will help you.
The Moon is currently embarking on its monthly planetary journey, after visiting Mars it will travel to Uranus on July 22nd, to Venus on July 26th and will complete its planetary journey with Mercury on July 29th.
If you’d like to take a more in-depth journey through our rocky companion, our complete moonwatching guide will help you plan your next skywatching adventure, whether exploring the lunar seas, the mountainous terrain, or the many craters that cover the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo Landing Site Watching Guide.
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