Augusts MustSee Cosmic Events Include Perseids Meteor Shower

first_imgStay on target The sky waits for no man (or woman), and while folks continue to moon over last week’s crimson eclipse, the August atmosphere is prepping an exciting lineup.Culled from National Geographic and EarthSky, I have compiled a schedule of this month’s must-see celestial shows, starting with a few lunar rendezvous.Aug. 4: Moon meets UranusSet an early alarm, grab the binoculars, and look skyward for the last quarter Moon to guide you to the viridian ice giant. In the predawn hours, Earth’s satellite and seventh planet Uranus will be visible in the southeast—only six degrees apart.Aug. 5: Moon meets JunoJuno, the eleventh-largest asteroid, is currently shining bright, making it easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope. Look for the 160-mile-wide rock among the stars of faint constellation Cetus (the whale). Juno will appear about five degrees away from the Moon.Aug. 6: Moon meets AldebaranReset that alarm, because the waning crescent Moon will be paired with bright orange star Aldebaran—the lead in Taurus’ bull constellation—early Monday morning. If you’re up before the sun, look carefully between the two orbs and you might spot the Hyades star cluster. The distant V-shaped collection of stars is one of the closest to Earth.Aug. 8: Cosmic teapotFancy a cuppa? Friday’s new Moon will help direct viewers to the great celestial “teapot,” a distinct pattern (complete with handle, lid, and spout) at the heart of the constellation Sagittarius. Short and stout, the asterism is easy to spot in the dark sky: Look for the protruding lip facing down, toward Earth (and imagine the Milky Way pouring out).Aug. 8: Lagoon NebulaBinoculars in hand, locate Sagittarius’s mythical centaur to see the Lagoon Nebula some 6,500 light-years away. The red-and-orange-hued gas cloud, also known as Messier 8, is home to hundreds of young stars.Aug. 8-9: Moon meets GeminiIn the morning, you’ll find the waning crescent Moon in front of the constellation Gemini. The Twins’ brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, represent brothers in Greek mythology.Aug. 11: Partial solar eclipseExpected to last a whopping 3.5 hours—peaking at 5:46 a.m. ET—this marks the last in a trio of summertime eclipses. Folks in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, northern Europe, and northeast Asia can watch as the Moon’s shadow briefly traverses part of the Sun.Aug. 11-13: Perseids peakEarthlings will be treated to the most popular meteor shower of the year as our planet passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. At its peak (Aug. 12), folks should see about 60 to 70 meteors per hour. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an outburst like 2016’s, which features 150 to 200 meteors an hour.Aug. 16-17: Moon meets JupiterContinuing its journey through the Solar System, the Moon will spend two night moving past Jupiter.Aug. 20: Moon meets SaturnThree days later, Earth’s satellite will be only four degrees from bright gas giant Saturn.Aug. 22-23: Moon meets MarsThe final lunar pairing of the month comes when our Moon meets the Red Planet for two nights in the southern sky. This is the perfect photo opportunity for anyone who missed its appearance in early July.Aug. 26: Mercury morningEven the least morning-person people will want to wake up early for a glimpse of Mercury, shining brightly for about 45 minutes before local sunrise.Summer TriangleThroughout the sunny season, the Summer Triangle asterism appears at nightfall—an imaginary triad of stars. The pattern, drawn on the northern hemisphere’s celestial sphere, features defining vertices at Altair, Deneb, and Vega: the brightest points in the constellations of Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, respectively.Happy hunting, stargazers!If you think meteor showers are awesome displays in the night sky check out our pieces on lunar eclipses. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Scientists Discover Possible Interstellar VisitorWater Vapor Detected on Potentially ‘Habitable’ Planet last_img

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