Another new month is here so dust off your telescopes, crane your necks and get outside for the latest of our monthly astronomy guides is upon us!
Of specific note this month is the annual Perseid meteor shower. Last year we were really lucky both seeing and photographing many meteors, so we’re crossing our fingers for another good display!
Keep watching the skies! And show us on Twitter if you get any images!
Saturday 3rd August – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,835 km (252,174 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth
Tuesday 6th August – This evening sees a new Moon which rises and sets with the Sun, making now a good time to observe deep sky objects like star clusters, galaxies and nebulae
It also marks the first anniversary of the Mars Rover Curiosity making landfall!
Wednesday 7th August – Two years ago on a clear August night I imaged a couple of summer evening beauties, and I always wanted a second crack at getting some better shots
The Ring Nebula (M57) is located near the constellation Lyra, and certainly is a sight to behold!
A giant doughnut in space, I’m hoping to be able to image this enough to get some good stacked shots. Fingers crossed!
Friday 9th August – The intensity of the annual Perseid meteor shower begins to increase this evening, heading to the peak at the end of the weekend
Appearing to originate from the north east, the Perseids are known for being bright multicoloured streaks, and also offer up the highest number or fireballs of any meteor shower
While the best time for viewing is early morning before dawn, there should still be some activity earlier on in the evening to help get kids out and enjoying the night sky! Who can spot the most number of meteors?!
Sunday 11th August – Everyone’s favourite shooting star display peaks over the next two evenings (actually between 18:15 and 20:45 UTC/19:15 and 21:45 BST on 12th August) and as the Moon is setting as the sky is darkening it will be nicely out of the way
The best time for viewing will be after 01:00 BST on both the 12th and 13th, but you should see them anytime after nightfall, streaking away from the centre of the radiant
Wednesday 14th August – This morning the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase
Monday 19th August – The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 362,265 km (225,101 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth
Wednesday 21st August – The Full Moon appearing in the sky today is also sometimes known as the Harvest Moon, Lightning Moon or Dog Day’s Moon
Saturday 24th August – Mercury is in Superior Conjunction today, and is therefore too close to the Sun for observation
Wednesday 28th August – The Moon appears at Last Quarter phase this evening
Planets visible this month:
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂
Guide images created with Stellarium