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Home / Science / August is a good month to look at stars and planets – Twin Cities

August is a good month to look at stars and planets – Twin Cities



I love this season because we still have a lot of summers and the nights are getting a bit longer. There is almost another hour of night and the sky is dark enough for the star hunt at 10 o'clock. The late summer sky is filled with heavenly gems and August brings us three big planets!

The Mars show is without doubt the big event in August, despite a historic, worldwide dust storm. Normally, Mars is the only planet in our solar system whose surface can be seen through a telescope, but this does not happen this time because experts predict that the dust storm will continue in the next few months. Nonetheless, since 2003, Mars and Earth are closest to each other.

Mike Lynch

19659004] In fact, Mars will be the closest on Tuesday with just under 36.8 million miles. Mars will be by far the brightest star-shaped object in the southern half of the sky, with an easily recognizable red-orange glow, even though it is more salmon-colored with the dust storm. Mars rises in the southeast early in the evening and sets in at dawn in the southwest.

Mars may make headlines in August, but Jupiter and Saturn are also fantastic telescope targets, with Jupiter moons and Saturn ring system. At nightfall, Jupiter shines bright in the south-southwestern sky and Saturn is in the lower south-southeastern sky directly to the left below. Jupiter is almost as bright as Mars. Meanwhile, the very bright planet Venus appears at dusk in the deepest western sky, but sets in shortly thereafter.

In addition to the planet show, we also have a meteor shower in August. The Perseiden meteor shower, one of the best meteor showers of the year, reaches its peak at the beginning of next week around the 11th to 13th of August. It will be wonderful this year because the moon will be quite far from the sky by then, and the meteorites, or "shooting stars," will be much more visible in the darker skies. Next week I will have more information about the Perseids.

The low southern sky of August is home to classic constellations, along with Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. There Scorpius is the scorpion with the bright, brick-red star Antares in the heart of the scorpion. It is one of the few constellations that looks like it should be. In the low southeastern sky is Sagittarius, who is said to be a half man / half horse shooting an arrow. Forget it. Most of the people I know call it "Top Tea".

The brightest star in the night sky is Arcturus, which stands in the high western sky. Arcturus is also the brightest star in the constellation Bootes the Hunting Farmer. Bootes looks more like a giant dragon, with the orange-red star Arcturus on the tail of the kite.

The second brightest star in the evening sky is Vega, the bright star in a small, weak constellation called Lyra the Lyre or Harp. Vega is a bright bluish-white star, high above the eastern sky, almost overhead. Vega and the small weak parallelogram in the lower east of Vega are to outline a sky harp in the sky. If you are calm enough, you can even hear the music.

If you look further east, you will notice two other bright stars forming a triangle with Vega. This is known as the "summer triangle". The star on the bottom left of Vega is Deneb, the brightest star in Cygnus the Swan, also known as the "Northern Cross", for obvious reasons. The star to the right of Vega is Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila the Eagle.


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