Astronomy Events – August 2015

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by yaska77

Where is the summer going? I literally write up one of these fabulous guides (I’m nothing if not modest), work and sleep a couple of times and suddenly it’s time for the next one!

A lesson perhaps in the need to slow down, to take time to appreciate the simple things and most importantly de-stress once in a while? With such a wonderful free show above our heads every single evening we could all benefit from a little wonder and genuine awe.

So, with lots of warm and pleasant evenings expected in August you could do worse than have a read of our guide below and get out and view some of the galaxy we inhabit 🙂

Keep watching those skies…

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

Sunday 2nd August – Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 362,135 km (225,020 miles)

Friday 7th August – This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Wednesday 12th August – This evening sees the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower. This year could be a great one as the Moon is well out of the way rising just before the Sun, and as Perseids are well known busy displays, this one could be special!

We're hoping a good show will give us the chance to catch some more meteor shots, like this summer Perseid from 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Hopefully the weather will behave allowing us to see a good show! We’d like to take more images like this summer Perseid we snapped in August 2012, taken at Wye in Kent (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Although the shower actually peaks at around 08:30 UTC / 09:30 BST on Thursday morning, the ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) can be as high at 80-100 meteors per hour!  If you’re up late the best time to view is after midnight, as the intensity of the meteor streaks increase as they start to hit the Earth head on

This can be such a busy shower those mesmerising streaks can appear anywhere, so it’s a great chance to delight your kids with shooting stars aplenty. Get comfy outside and look up!

Friday 14th August – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae

Saturday 15th August – Planet Venus is in Inferior Conjunction, and will soon re-emerge from the glare of the Sun as a morning object

Sunday 16th August – To help you with identifying the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in August

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
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

Tuesday 18th August – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,850 km (252,184 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Saturday 22nd August – Tonight the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase, and if you’re lucky enough you might spot a companion travelling across the sky with our nearest neighbour!

Although the Moon will be half lit (at First Quarter Phase) you should still be able to spot Saturn just below it (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Although the Moon will be half lit (at First Quarter Phase) you should still be able to spot Saturn just below it (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

We’ve not imaged Saturn for far too long, I think it’s time to locate the CCD camera and reacquaint myself with how to use it properly!

Wednesday 26th August – Giant Jupiter is in Conjunction with the Sun today, so is unfortunately not currently observable

Saturday 29th August – The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Harvest Moon, Corn Moon or Lightning Moon

Sunday 30th August – Today the Moon is at Perigee for the second time this month, this time it will be 358,290 km (222,631 miles) away!

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:

Saturn
Venus
Neptune
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
Mercury

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 2015
Astronomy Events – June 2015
Astronomy Events – May 2015

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