• Chris Baker

What's Up? - AUGUST 2022

Each month I highlight a few objects you can spot in the night sky without the need for optical equipment. Here are the exciting things for AUGUST 2022!


This month is dominated by the return of the Perseid Meteor shower. Despite the pesky full Moon around the time of the peak of the shower it will still be possible to see many streaks in the sky!



MAJOR METEOR SHOWER THIS MONTH


At the same time each year the earth passes through the dust from a comet's tale and we are treated to those tiny particles hitting the atmosphere as meteors.


This shower is made of pieces from Comet Swift-Tuttle, a comet first discovered in 1862 that takes 133 years to make one trip around the sun. Comet Swift-Tuttle was last visible in the night sky in 1992 and won't return until 2126.


This year we can expect a beautiful display from the Perseids meteor shower.


The shower begins mid July and continues until around the 24th August. However, it peaks between the 8th-16th August and especially 11th-13th August.


If it is clear on any of those three evenings then you can expect up to 100 meteors per hour.


I typically get a deckchair out to watch. (And maybe a Scotch Whisky)


How can you see them?


The best is the nights of the 12th and 13th - after dark and from about 20:00 BST onwards.


It is best to look north-east up at about 60 degrees, but don't worry - just looking in that direction will deliver!




And don't forget to make a wish when you spot a shooting star. let me know if you are successful - especially if it is your first time.


PLANETS


The Gas Giants - Jupiter and Saturn


How to Observe


Jupiter

This magnificent planet will be visible all month and will be shining down on you! You cannot miss this beautiful bright planet by looking south-east afetr dark. Have a look if you can on the 15th August as it's close to an 87% lit waning gibbous Moon - a nice sight.


Jupiter and Saturn on the 15th August around midnight

Courtesy of Stellarium


Saturn

Visible all month again south-east. The full moon sits near Saturn on the 11th/12th and 12th/13th August.



Saturn late on the 12th close to the full Moon -the same night as you'll be watching the meteor shower!

Courtesy of Stellarium


Mars

Mars is visible in the south-eastern sky and is better placed in the second half of the month. Worth looking on the 18th when it is close to the Pleiades star cluster as seen with the map below.

This is around 1 in the morning.


Mars close to Pleiades on the 18th August

Courtesy of Stellarium


Enjoy the night sky this month and let me know about your observations


Thank you for reading this blog and do let me know if there is anything you would like me to add to my Newsletter each month.

chris@galaxyonglass.com

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