Monday, August 1, 2011

August 2011 Highlights

August is here and we are moving into late summer in the northern hemisphere. July wasn't a very ambitious month for me because I spent so much time enjoying my summer, we'll see about a new month. The dominant astronomical event for August is the Perseids meteor shower. Although a Full Moon at it's peak will dampen the experience, the rest of the month should still be full of a few bright traces through the night sky. The weather is still warm, and many great constellations are high in the sky. So if you get the chance, go out and look up:


August 5: Juno Launch: Juno is an ambitious mission to understand the origin and evolution of planet Jupiter. You can read more about it on NASA Juno mission page.

August 8: First Quarter Moon: The Moon is halfway through the waxing phase, a great time for observing as the shadows provide wonderful contrast.

August 12-13: Perseids Meteor Shower: (active July 22-August 22) Usually one of the best meteors shower of the year, but this year it will be marred by a Full Moon during its peak. However, up to 60 meteors per hour may be possible in dark locations. The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus.

August 13: Full Moon: The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This moon, in the Native American tradition of naming the full moons throughout the year, is known as the Full Sturgeon Moon. It gets its name from the large sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes and other major lakes were more easily caught at this time of year.

August 16: Venus at Superior Conjunction: Venus swings around the opposite side of the Sun and passes into the evening sky. (It will briefly be directly opposite of the Sun from us, therefore not visible.)

August 21: Last Quarter Moon: Halfway through the Moon's waning phase.

August 22: Neptune at Opposition: The planet will be on its closest approach to Earth and fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to observe Neptune, but even the most powerful telescopes reveal little more than a tiny pale blue dot.

August 29: New Moon: The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth.


13 comments:

Phil S. said...

Man, Neptune gets a raw deal (tiny pale blue dot!)

So wait, does that mean on the 29th will be an eclipse? I wonder how the moon feels about one of it's phases being named after a fish.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

One of the benefits of Idaho vs California would be the clear skies. I might actually get to see the meteor shower this year!

I'm planning on going out into the middle of nowhere, and bringing my camera. Can't wait.

The Angry Lurker said...

I'm going to have to print this.

The Dawg said...

A meteor shower? Always wanted to see one of those.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Thorough guide, thanks for this... will have to bookmark it to check back throughout the month.

MRanthrope said...

Venus @ Superior Conjunction = my birthday!

-E- said...

typical american, having to do nothing in order to enjoy yourself. (just joshing you).

Jay said...

and a happy august to you to! :D

Gryt said...

Yay for info on the moon, I remember one year for science we had to do a project that involved going outside at night and sketching pictures of the moon and telling the phase it was in

trey LW said...

ohhh thanks im bookmarking this to refer back to through the month :]

Astronomy Pirate said...

@Idaho, Awesome and good luck

@Phil, no there won't be a lunar eclipse as far as I can tell. It just that the darker side is facing the Earth full on. A lunar eclipse will occur when all three (Sun, Moon, Earth) are lined up, usually they for a sort of triangle.

Electric Addict said...

nice 60 meteors and hour!

Internet Catch Of The Day said...

I will keeping my eyes on the sky for the Perseids meteor shower!

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