Admin and Founder of The Secrets of the Universe and former intern at Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, I am a science student pursuing Master’s in Physics from India. I love to study and write about Stellar Astrophysics, Relativity& Quantum Mechanics.
The month of August is one of the most awaited month for amateur astronomers. That's because of the Perseid meteor shower. The weather is good and the nights are clear in most parts of the world. Along with the Perseids, let us have a look at other Astronomy events in August 2019.
August 1: New Moon
On the first day of the month, the Moon will be lost in the glare of the Sun. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight. The exact New Moon phase will happen at 3:13 UTC.
August 2: Moon at Perigee
On August 2, the Moon will reach closest point along its orbit around the Earth and will appear slightly bigger. Since the perigee is a day after the New Moon, all you you will see is a sharp crescent Moon. On this occasion the Moon will pass within a distance of 359,000 km of the Earth.
august 10: Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter
On the 10th day of the month, at 22:53 UTC (4:53 IST), the Moon will pass 2°28' to the north of Jupiter. The Moon will be 8 days old in the constellation of Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit in the view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through the binoculars. Since Jupiter has recently passed its opposition point, it will appear bright at mag -2.5 in Ophiuchus.
August 12: Close approach of moon and saturn
This is one of the most important Astronomy events in August 2019. After a close date with Jupiter, Moon will pass extremely close to the Lord of the Rings. The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°02' to the south of Saturn. The Moon will be 11 days old. Look for the duo in the evening sky after sunset. Saturn will shine fairly bright at mag 0.1 while Moon will be at its usual -12.4 mag. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. Both of them will be Sagittarius and the exact time of opposition is 09:53 UTC (15:23 IST).
August 13: Perseid Meteor Shower
The flagship Astronomy event of August 2019 is on the 13th day. The Perseids will peak on the night of August 13. Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids. As pebble-sized pieces of debris collide with the Earth, they burn up at an altitude of around 70 to 100 km, appearing as shooting stars. The parent body responsible for creating the Perseid shower is 109P/Swift–Tuttle.
The radiant of Perseid meteor shower lies in the constellation of Perseus (hence the name Perseids). Radiant is the point in the sky from where all the meteors appear to originate. Although they can appear in any part of the sky, the trajectory of their paths, drawn backwards, meets at the radiant. This year's meteor shower coincides with the 12th day of Moon. Thus the Moon will cause serious hindrance to the observations.
August 15: Full Moon
The Moon will reach its full phase at around 12:31 UTC (18:01 IST). At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. Over the nights following 15 August, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon.
August 17: Moon at apogee
On August 17, the Moon's monthly orbit around the Earth will take it at the farthest distance from it. The apogee of 17 August 2019 will occur when the Moon is close to full phase, and so this month's full moon will be a little smaller and less bright than usual. On this occasion the Moon will recede to a distance of 406,000 km from the Earth.
August 29: Mars at Apogee
The orbit of Mars will carry it to the farthest point from Earth - its apogee. The Red Planet will be at a distance of 2.68 AU. At the apogee, the apparent size and apparent brightness of the planet will decrease. This isn't the best time to photograph the planet. Mars will be in Leo at mag 1.2 (fainter than Saturn at mag 0.1).
August 30: New Moon at perigee
The best part of August? The month will end the way it started - with a New Moon. This time, the perigee will coincide with the New Moon. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight. At perigee, Moon will be in Leo.
So these were the major Astronomy events in August 2019. Subscribe us on YouTube for science videos.