#astronomy This Week’s Sky at a Look, August 23 – 31

August 23, 2019 - Comment

In early daybreak, the waning Moon pairs with Aldebaran on Saturday morning the 24th. Then on the morning of the 25th, the Moon occults Zeta Tauri as seen from some places. (These diagrams are all the time drawn for latitude 40°N, longitude 90°W, close to the center of North America. For readability, the Moon is

Moon and Aldebaran before dawn, Aug. 23-25, 2019

In early daybreak, the waning Moon pairs with Aldebaran on Saturday morning the 24th. Then on the morning of the 25th, the Moon occults Zeta Tauri as seen from some places. (These diagrams are all the time drawn for latitude 40°N, longitude 90°W, close to the center of North America. For readability, the Moon is drawn thrice its precise obvious dimension.)

Friday, August 23

• Final-quarter Moon; precisely so at 10:56 a.m. on this date. The Moon rises tonight round midnight (relying in your location), under the Pleiades. Accompanying the Moon shall be orange Aldebaran. By the start of daybreak on Saturday morning the 24th they stand excessive within the southeast, as proven right here.

Saturday, August 24

• Within the early-morning hours of Sunday the 25th, the waning Moon is kind of near Third-magnitude Zeta Tauri, one of many Taurus horn-tips, as indicated right here. The Moon’s shiny limb occults the star for the western US and Mexico earlier than or throughout daybreak. Zeta’s reappearance from behind the darkish limb, as much as an hour or extra later, shall be a lot simpler to witness in a scope and even binoculars. In these detailed timetables, scroll about 40% of the best way down for the start of the Reappearance timetable. (“CA” underneath Location means Canada.)

Sunday, August 25

• Jupiter’s Nice Crimson Spot ought to cross the planet’s central meridian tonight round 11:37 p.m. EDT; eight:37 p.m. PDT.

Then 46 minutes later, watch Ganymede disappear behind Jupiter’s previous limb.

Monday, August 26

• Each time shiny Vega crosses nearest your zenith, because it does at dusk now, you recognize that the Sagittarius Teapot have to be at its highest due south even when it is hidden by buildings or bushes. The Teapot is at present marked by Saturn.

Two hours later when Deneb crosses closest to the zenith, it is the flip of Delphinus and boat-shaped Capricornus down under to face at their highest due south.

Tuesday, August 27

• August is prime Milky Method time now that the Moon is out of the night sky. As soon as twilight absolutely ends, the Milky Method runs from Sagittarius within the south, up and left throughout Aquila and thru the massive Summer season Triangle overhead, and on down by way of Cassiopeia to Perseus within the northeast.

The place the Milky Method goes by way of Aquila, plan to discover telescopic targets utilizing “The Superb Eagle” article, with its chart and images, within the August Sky & Telescope, web page 54.

Wednesday, August 28

• Search for shiny Vega passing the zenith as twilight fades away, for those who reside on the earth’s mid-northern latitudes. Vega goes proper by way of your zenith for those who’re at latitude 39° north (close to Baltimore, Kansas Metropolis, Lake Tahoe, Sendai, Beijing, Athens, Lisbon).

At the moment the little triangle-and-parallelogram of the remainder of Lyra, a lot fainter, dangles straight down from Vega whenever you face southeast. Crane your neck up.

Thursday, August 29

• Make the most of these moonless late evenings to make use of your scope to choose up the asteroid Eunomia, now magnitude eight.5, simply north of the Capricornus star sample — utilizing the article and finder chart within the August Sky & Telescope, web page 48.

Friday, August 30

• By 9 or 10 p.m. two of probably the most well-known deep-sky objects, the Double Cluster in Perseus and the Nice Andromeda Galaxy M31, are in excessive view within the east. Do you know they’re solely 22° aside? They’re each cataloged as 4th magnitude however they give the impression of being slightly totally different, the extra so the darker your sky. See for your self; they’re plotted on the all-sky constellation map within the heart of the September Sky & Telescope, which needs to be all of the map you might want to discover their exact places naked-eye. They’re under Cassiopeia and farther to Cassiopeia’s proper, respectively.

• New Moon, precise at 6:37 a.m. on this date EDT.

Saturday, August 31

• Altair is the brightest star on the southern aspect of the sky after darkish. (We’re not counting the planets Jupiter and Saturn, far to its decrease proper.) Spot Altair’s little orange companion Tarazed to its higher proper by only a finger width at arm’s size.

Look to Altair’s higher left, by a bit greater than a fist, for little Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Nearer above Altair is even smaller, fainter Sagitta, the Arrow.


Wish to change into a greater astronomer? Study your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an out of doors nature passion. For an easy-to-use constellation information masking the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the heart of every problem of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and lots of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the evening. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you will want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental normal is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which reveals stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.zero, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; almost thrice as many. The following up, as soon as you recognize your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria 2000.zero (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim easy methods to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, reminiscent of Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas 2000.zero Companion by Sturdy and Sinnott, or the larger Evening Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for novices, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which might be lower than top-quality mechanically (which means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can’t come with out growing the abilities to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time underneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Mercury (magnitude –1.four early this week) gleams decrease within the daybreak each morning and is gone earlier than week’s finish. Early within the week, search for it about 30 minutes earlier than dawn very low within the east-northeast.

Venus and Mars stay out of sight behind the glare of the Solar.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.three, between the toes of Ophiuchus) is the white dot hanging within the south-southwest as twilight fades away. Get your scope on it early earlier than it sinks decrease into poorer seeing. Orange Antares, a lot fainter at magnitude +1.zero, twinkles 7° to Jupiter’s decrease proper. In a telescope Jupiter is 40 arcseconds broad and shrinking.

On August seventh, novice imager Ethan Chappel was videorecording Jupiter when a tiny shiny flare appeared on it and light over the course of a couple of second — very like the six earlier meteor impacts in Jupiter’s ambiance which were detected within the fashionable period of video planetary imaging. See Texas Novice Detects Attainable Influence on Jupiter.

Illustrates impact flashes

A processed red-light body of Jupiter displaying the second of the obvious impression on the SEB, and a shade view made later by including inexperienced and blue photos of the planet. North is up. Ethan Chappel

Saturn (magnitude +zero.three, in Sagittarius) is the regular, pale yellowish “star” within the south-southeast throughout and after nightfall, 30° left or higher left of Jupiter. Under Saturn is the deal with of the Sagittarius Teapot.

Uranus (magnitude 5.eight, in Aries) is excessive within the south simply earlier than the start of daybreak.

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, in Aquarius) is effectively up within the southeast by 11 p.m. and highest within the south by 2 a.m. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally depend upon longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out underneath the night sky together with your earbuds in place, hearken to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“The hazards of not pondering clearly are a lot better now than ever earlier than. It isn’t that there is one thing new in our mind-set, it is that credulous and confused pondering may be way more deadly in methods it was by no means earlier than.”
— Carl Sagan, 1996

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