The Perseid meteor shower will be a sight to behold as it reaches its peak this week under perfect conditions.
Evenings this week are good times to explore the archer's constellation Sagittarius. This star cluster is located south and in the height between 10 and 11 o'clock. local time of day after the last traces of dusk have disappeared. The brightest stars in the constellation form the shape of a teapot – a distinctive asterism once you find it – though it's misshapen this year, with Saturn just emerging to the north. The central regions of the Milky Way pass Sagittarius, so it's worth exploring the area through binoculars or a telescope.
The Moon reaches perigee, the next point in its orbit around Earth, at 2:07. SUMMER TIME. It is then 222,500 miles (358,078 kilometers) away from us.
Saturday, August 1
New Moon occurs at 5:58 pm EDT. In its new phase, the moon crosses the sky with the sun and remains hidden in the starlight. At least that will do for much of the world's population. However, if you live in the north of Canada, northern Europe, or parts of Asia, you can watch the moon go by in front of the sun and cause a partial eclipse. From Beijing, just before sunset, the moon covers one third of the diameter of our star. Keep in mind that when you look at the sun during a partial eclipse, you need to protect your eyes with a safe sun filter.
Sunday, August 12
The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak this evening under perfect conditions. Not only does the shower produce many "shooting stars" – up to 110 per hour under optimal circumstances – but it does so with the moon out of the sky. The best view will come in the morning hours of Monday morning, when the radiant shower – the point on the border between Perseus and Cassiopeia, where the meteors seem to stream out – rises the highest. To see most of the meteors, watch from a place far from the lights of the city.
Suppose you watch the Perseid show this morning, do not pack up when the dawn starts to paint the sky. About 45 minutes before the sun rises, look for a bright object hovering just above the horizon in the east-southeast. This is the brightest star of the night sky, magnitude -1.5 Sirius in the constellation Canis Major. From the middle northern latitudes, the light climbs about 4 ° high half an hour before sunrise and should stand out on a clear and unobstructed horizon. The return of Sirius at dawn was an opportunity to celebrate in ancient Egypt. Around 3000 BC This so-called heliacal rising of Sirius ushered in the impending flood of the Nile, an event upon which agriculture – and all life in Egypt – depended.
While the brightest star hangs in the east at dawn before dawn, the brightest planet lurks in the west after sunset. Venus dazzles at -4.4, nearly 15 times brighter than Sirius. Pay close attention to Venus tonight when a 10 percent crescent appears 10 degrees to his right.
Tuesday, August 14
Although Jupiter reached opposition and summit views more than three months ago, it remains a stunning sight from dusk to sunset after 11pm. local daylight time. Jupiter shines in magnitude -2.0 and dominates the southwestern sky at night. The gas giant is among the background stars of Libra the Scales; Tonight it passes just 0.6 ° north of Zubenelgenubi (Alpha [α] Librae). If you look at the planet through a telescope tonight, its disk will stretch over 36 "with spectacular cloud tops.
If you thought the Moon and Venus formed a pretty pair last night, tonight's view should be even better. The planet hangs 7 ° below the crescent moon, which now appears 18 percent illuminated.
Wednesday, August 15
The comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner meets expectations and shines between the stars of Cassiopeia, the Queen, between the 8th and 9th grade To see well, you must watch from a dark sky through a 4-inch or larger telescope, although this region never begins north of latitude 30 degrees, it climbs before dawn on the Sun. Astroimager should be sure to target the comet from now until Saturday morning, when it runs just north of the photogenic heart and soul mists (IC 1805 and IC 1848). Thursday, August 16
Mars reached its peak in the last week of July, but remains a glorious sight this week. The Red Planet appears low in the southeast as the darkness falls and more stands out as the evening continues and climbs higher. Until 11 o'clock local time of day, it stands about 25 ° high in the south against the background of the stars in the southwestern Capricornus. The world shines with a strength of -2.5, making it the second brightest spot in the night sky after Venus. The ocher-colored disk of the planet spans a telescope and spans 23 ". The global dust storm that affected the opposition's views appears to be diminishing and patient observers should be able to spot some surface details.
Venus is today 46 ° east of the Sun, its largest extension for this evening appearance. One might think that the planet would reach the summit level today too, but that is not the right place – Venus is only one hour after sunset at 7 °. The problem is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun over the sky, closely followed by the planets, which after sunset in late summer forms a shallow angle to the western horizon. How much difference does it make? At the beginning of June, Venus was more than twice as high as it was only 35 ° from the Sun. Still, the planet has some distinct advantages over its late spring appearance. Not only is it brighter now, at -4.5, but it also looks better through a telescope. This evening, the Venus disk stretches over 24 "and appears half lit.
An almost half moon moon is only 7 ° off Jupiter's upper left tonight, making them an attractive pair from dusk until just after 11pm the planet local daylight time.
Saturday, August 18
First quarter moon arrives at 3:49 pm EDT Our satellite will only open at 2 pm local time of daylight, according to observers in America will not see it exactly halfway lit. At dusk, the moon appears 58 percent illuminated and is located about 10 degrees up to the right of the star Antares the first magnitude.
Sunday, August 19
Saturn It reached its peak more than a month ago when it appeared to the sun in the sky, and our view of the ringed planet remains great, appearing against the backdrop of the northern Sagittarius, a regi on, which climbs the highest in the south at 21 o'clock. local daylight time. Saturn continues to shine brightly in magnitude 0.3. The planet's 18 "diameter disk is surrounded by a dramatic ring system that spans 40" and is tilted by 27 ° to our line of sight.