Venus, Mars and Regulus come together on July 9

The Trio of Venus, Mars and Regulus

Venus is the brightest point of light in the night sky. In early July, it sets in the west less than two hours after sunset. When you watch the fading colors of the sunset, the first light you see is Venus. The closest planet to Earth shines at magnitude -4.7 during the first half of the month. On July 9, 2023, if you wait until the sky darkens further, you will see two points of light together and above brilliant Venus. Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion, is a slightly brighter and whiter light. And next to it is red Mars. These two worlds will appear slightly more than the width of the Moon on both July 9th and 10th.

On the evening of July 9, 2023, bright Venus will be below much fainter Mars and Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion. All three fit within a 5 degree field. Also, Mars and Regulus will be closer than 0.7 degrees — slightly more than the full moon’s width — except that evening. Mars and Regulus will still be very close next evening. Use Stellarium Find a star chart for your exact location. Use binoculars to spot them in the evening twilight. Mars sets at around 10:30pm (your local time). Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.

View through the telescope

To get a good look at these three, try focusing on them with a pair of binoculars. With binoculars, you can see the crescent phase of Venus. Next, look at the white and red dots of light together in one glance. These are Regulus and Mars respectively.

Mars is supposed to be a steady light, but Regulus is twinkling. Because Mars is close to Earth. A star — like Regulus — is so far away, nothing more than a pinprick of light in our sky. So the pulsating atmosphere of the Earth we observe would cause Regulus to bounce around the point, while disk-like Mars would remain stationary.

For binoculars, the dark circle is the red dot for Mars, and the white dots for Venus and Regulus.
July 9, 2023 Binocular view of 2 planets Venus and Mars – near Regulus. In fact, Mars passes 0.7 degrees—slightly more than the width of the Moon—from Regulus at night. Mars and Regulus will still be close on July 10. Start watching 30-45 minutes after sunset. Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.

Our maps are mostly set to the northern hemisphere. Try to see the exact view from your location Stellarium Online.

If you have a great photo of this event, send it to us! Submit your photo to EarthSky Community Photos.

Bottom line: On July 9th and 10th you’ll get a close look at Venus, Mars and Regulus. Use binoculars to look at faint objects slightly larger than the width of the Moon.

For more videos of great night sky events, visit EarthSky’s YouTube page.

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

Also Read: Venus bright in evening sky in 2023

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