Sky Gazing This Month – August

The longest lunar eclipse of the century accompanied with the opposition and closest approach of Mars rendered July as an exciting month from sky gazing point of view. But the eighth month of the year is no less. Here are some reasons to sky gaze in August.

August 2: Alpha Capricornids Meteor Shower

This meteor shower started on July 15 and is expected to peak on the night of August 2. The shower will produce 5 meteors per hour. Look for the shooting stars in the constellation of Capricornus which will be just above the Red Planet. Mars and hence Capricorn will rise in south-east at around 9 depending on your location. It is a prominent red speck in that part of the sky.

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Alpha Capricornids Meteor shower will peak on the night of August 2.

August 6: Tau Aquarids Meteor Shower

Look for the second meteor shower of the month in the same part of the sky as the previous one. Tau Aquarids will be visible “lower left” of Mars and will produce 8 shooting stars per hour.

August 8: Moon at the tip of Orion

Winters are approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and the Orion is becoming more of a night-time constellation. The Hunter rises in the east at around 3 a.m. and is fully above the horizon within 30 minutes. On August 8, the Moon will be at the tip of the constellation as shown in the image below. Can you spot the red supergiant Betelgeuse in the lower right direction?

August 8
The Moon will be at the tip of Orion at around 3:30 am on August 8.

August 11: Partial Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse of August 11, 2018 will be a partial solar eclipse which will be visible on the north of North America, in Greenland, in Northern Europe and north-eastern Asia.

The maximal phase of the partial eclipse will be recorded in East Siberian Sea, near the Wrangel Island.

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The eclipse can be observed in Canada, Greenland, Scotland, most of the Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland), Estonia, Latvia, practically throughout Russia (except for places southwest of the line roughly passing through Pskov, Moscow and Penza, and the most eastern places of the Far East), in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and China. During the sunset, the eclipse can be observed in North and South Korea.

August 12: Perseids Meteor Shower

Miss all the other meteor showers of the year and it’s okay but missing the Perseids meteor shower would be a sin. The most awaited shower will peak on the night of August 12 producing a streak every 1-2 minutes! Visible in the northeastern sky and emanating from the Perseid constellation, you can expect to see as many as 80 meteors per hour during the night of greatest activity. Moreover, Moon will be just a day crescent old making conditions ideal to watch the spectacular show of the heavens above.

meteor shower in the night sky
Perseids Shower will peak on the night of August 12.

August 17: Jupiter And Moon meet ‘again’

After experiencing a close encounter in the sky of July, the two celestial bodies are all set to meet once again on the night of August 17. Jupiter and the Crescent Moon will be about 5 degrees apart. Look for them in the south-western sky after sunset in northern hemisphere.

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Moon and Jupiter will have a close encounter on the night of August 17.

August 21: Close approach of Moon and Saturn

Moon and Saturn
Moon and Saturn have a close encounter on the night of August 21

After dating the largest planet on August 17, the Moon is all set to meet the most beautiful planet, the lord of the rings, Saturn. If you have a telescope, look for Pluto on the lower left of Moon.

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