• Chris Baker

What's in the Night Sky this August?

Each month I will highlight a few things for you to spot in the night sky. These will be visible with the naked eye. This month there is a lot in store- many planets to spot and a spectacular meteor shower!


Planets

Venus

Venus is a stunningly bright pre-dawn object and not to be missed! Simply look east and you will see this beautiful planet.


Example of Venus’s position in the sky - mid month.


Courtesy of Stellarium

Jupiter

The giant of all planets - Jupiter is an early evening object low down in the southern sky. If you have binoculars it is worth testing to see if you can spot a number of its moons. You may see four if you are lucky!


Example of Jupiter’s position early evening mid-month. Close to Saturn


Courtesy of Stellarium

Saturn

You can see this most beautiful ringed planet close to Jupiter early evening low down in the South. Using binoculars you may spot the rings!


Mars

The red planet you can spot shining brightly in the morning – here is an example mid-month at 04:30 looking south. By the end of the month it will be observable by midnight.

Example of Mars’s position mid-month looking south at 04:30.

Courtesy of Stellarium

At the end of July the NASA mission Perseverance blasted off on its mission to Mars. Follow its progress here! https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

The wonderful Perseid meteor shower

Yes it’s that time of the year again when this wonderful meteor shower rains down on Earth.

The Perseids are observable from mid-July until late August but they peak on the night of AUGUST 12th. At the peak there can be up to 60-70 meteors per hour.


How to observe the Perseids.

As it gets dark then get your deck chairs out from the back of the garage and dust them down. You will need to look in a north easterly direction but don’t worry too much as once they are around you’ll spot them! There is no need for binoculars – you just need to look upwards. You may need to be patient but it is worth it. And don’t forget- when you see one then make a wish and it is bound to come true.

The Perseids: Look North-East after dark toward the ‘W’ of Cassiopeia


Courtesy of Stellarium

Enjoy the night sky and see you next month for more naked eye objects in space!

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