Astronomy Events – August 2014

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by yaska77

The British summer is often maligned, and usually for good reason we’ll agree. But this year we’ve had some nice balmy (if often hazy) evenings so we’re hopeful to get some more imaging done soon as it’s been a while…

Particularly of interest are some nice upcoming conjunctions and a meteor shower, so with August we’re really spoiling you!  “But what can we see and when can we see it!?” we hear you cry…

Well as ever below we’ve listed a little something for everyone, in our monthly astronomy guide for August.

Keep watching the skies!

Friday 1st August – The season for viewing Noctilucent clouds is nearly at an end, but for a few days more you may catch them low down in the northwest (after sunset) and northeast (just before sunrise)

Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén
Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén

These clouds are in the upper atmosphere and are usually too faint to see, becoming visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow

Saturday 2nd August – The crescent Moon can be found between Mars and bright star Spica (part of the constellation Virgo) low towards the West after sunset this evening, possibly a nice target for some photography

The crescent Moon appears between Mars and Spica soon after sunset this evening (shown at 20:15 UTC/21:15 BST) low to the West (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
The crescent Moon appears between Mars and Spica soon after sunset this evening (shown at 20:15 UTC / 21:15 BST) low down towards the West (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 4th August – The Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase this morning, and later this evening will be seen just to the left of Saturn (in the constellation Libra) as shown in our guide image below

Shown at 21:00 UTC/22:00 BST low towards the West, the Moon can be seen near to Saturn (click to enlage) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown at 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) low towards the West, the Moon can be seen near to Saturn (click to enlage) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 8th August – Inner planet Mercury is in Superior Conjunction today and will be unobservable for the rest of the month

Sunday 10th August – The Full Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 356,895 km (221,764 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth. The August Full Moon is also sometimes known as the Fruit Moon, Corn Moon or Lightning Moon

As the Full Moon coincides with Perigee this causes an effect often referred to as a “Supermoon“. When this occurs the relative closeness of the Moon to the Earth makes our satellite appear 14% larger and 30% brighter then when at its furthest distance

Tuesday 12th August – This evening sees the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower. Although the bright Moon will spoil some of the show, Perseids are well known for often busy displays, so they’re always worth looking for

Taken using a Canon EOS 550D at 18mm focal length, f/3.5, 20 second exposure at ISO-1600 – 12th August 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Taken using a Canon EOS 550D at 18mm focal length, f/3.5, 20 second exposure at ISO-1600 – Perseid meteor from early morning on the 12th of August 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Our favourite meteor image so far is a Perseid we caught in August 2012 from Wye Downs in Kent (above) so we’d like to try get a few more shots

The radiant of the shower (the point all the meteors appear to originate from) will be up to the north east around midnight (with the shower peak around 00:00 UTC / 01:00 BST) but meteors can appear anywhere so get outside and look up!

Saturday 16th August – To help identify the summer constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in August (shown as seen at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th August)

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th July, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th August, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in August (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in August (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 17th August – This afternoon our Moon will be at Last Quarter phase

Saturday 23rd August – The waning crescent Moon lies just to the right of Venus and Jupiter if you’re up early this morning.  If your eastern horizon is flat enough this could provide some great images for all you amateur photographers out there!

If you're up early and have a nice flat eastern horizon you'll see the waning crescent Moon just to the right of Venus and Jupiter before sunrise (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
If you’re up early and have a nice flat eastern horizon you’ll see the waning crescent Moon just to the right of Venus and Jupiter before sunrise, shown about at 04:00 UTC / 05:00 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 24th August – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 406,520 km (252,600 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Monday 25th August – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Sunday 31st August Saturn and the Moon are in conjunction this evening, and offer a great photo opportunity to anyone with a telescope and camera mount!

The waxing gibbous Moon has Saturn for a close neighbour during this conjunction this evening (shown at 20:00 UTC / 21:00 BST) this is a great target for binoculars or a telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
The waxing Moon has Saturn for a close neighbour during their conjunction this evening (shown at 20:00 UTC / 21:00 BST) and will be a great target for binoculars or a telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If we can find a dark enough location with a good western horizon we’ll definitely be aiming to get some images of this, so keep watching the blog as we’re getting the itch to get out there again…

As usual, if you take any photos throughout August you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – July 2014
Astronomy Events – June 2014
Astronomy Events – May 2014

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. tte-77 says:

    31st August….. shall we? Might get some awesome pictures dependent on the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yaska77 says:

      Sounds like a plan, a visit up to Wye for the Perseids might not be a bad idea either 😉

      Like

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