This Week’s Sky at a Look, August 16 – 24

August 16, 2019 - Comment

All August, Saturn shines higher left of the Sagittarius Teapot at dusk. The star simply higher left of Saturn right here is the brightest within the Teaspoon asterism. Friday, August 16 • As August proceeds and nights start to show chilly, the Nice Sq. of Pegasus lifts up within the east, balancing on one nook.

Saturn and Sagittarius, mid-August 2019

All August, Saturn shines higher left of the Sagittarius Teapot at dusk. The star simply higher left of Saturn right here is the brightest within the Teaspoon asterism.

Friday, August 16

• As August proceeds and nights start to show chilly, the Nice Sq. of Pegasus lifts up within the east, balancing on one nook. Its stars are solely 2nd and Third magnitude, and your fist at arm’s size matches inside it. Late this night the waning gibbous Moon rises beneath it.

From the Sq.’s left nook extends the primary line of the constellation Andromeda: three stars (together with the nook) about as vivid as these forming the Sq..

This entire large sample was named “the Andromegasus Dipper” by the late Sky & Telescope columnist George Lovi. It is formed kind of like a large Little Dipper with an extra-big bowl, and it is at the moment elevating its contents upward.

Saturday, August 17

• The precise Little Dipper, in the meantime, is tipping far over leftward within the north. It is lower than half so long as the Andromegasus Dipper, and most of it’s a lot fainter. As at all times, you may discover that it is oriented greater than 90° counterclockwise in comparison with Andromegasus.

Sunday, August 18

• As summer season progresses and Arcturus strikes down the western sky, the kite determine of Bootes that sprouts from Arcturus tilts to the suitable (relying in your latitude). The kite is slim, barely bent with its prime leaning proper, and 23° lengthy: about two fists at arm’s size. Arcturus is its backside level the place the stubby tail is tied on.

The Huge Dipper now slants at about the identical top within the northwest, to the Kite’s proper.

Monday, August 19

• At any time when vivid Vega crosses nearest your zenith, because it does proper after darkish now, you realize that the Sagittarius Teapot should be at its highest due south, even when it is hidden by buildings or timber.

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

Tuesday, August 20

• August is prime Milky Means time now that the Moon is lastly leaving the night sky. After twilight absolutely ends, the Milky Means runs from Sagittarius within the south, up and left throughout Aquila and thru the massive Summer time Triangle very excessive within the east, and on down by means of Cassiopeia to Perseus rising low within the north-northeast.

Wednesday, August 21

• Totally different folks have a better or more durable time seeing star colours, particularly refined ones. To me, the tints of vivid stars stand out just a little higher in a sky that is nonetheless the deep blue of late twilight.

As an illustration, the 2 brightest stars of summer season are Vega, overhead at the moment, and Arcturus, shining within the west. Vega is white with only a contact of blue. Arcturus is a yellow-orange large. Do their colours stand out just a little higher for you in late twilight? May this be a distinction impact of seeing yellow, orange, or orange-red stars on a blue background?

Thursday, August 22

• Benefit from these moonless late evenings to make use of your scope to select the asteroids Eunomia (now magnitude eight.four), Laetitia (9.four), and Psyche (9.eight) simply north of the Capricornus star sample — utilizing the article and chart within the August Sky & Telescope, web page 48.

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

As seen in early daybreak, the waning Moon now crosses Taurus.

Friday, August 23

• Final-quarter Moon (precisely so at 10:56 a.m. on this date). The Moon rises tonight round midnight or so (relying in your location), beneath the Pleiades. Accompanying the Moon shall be orange Aldebaran. By the start of daybreak Saturday morning, all of them stand excessive within the southeast.

Saturday, August 24

• Within the early-morning hours of Sunday, the waning Moon is even nearer to Third-magnitude Zeta Tauri, one of many Taurus horn-tips. The brilliant limb of the Moon occults the star for the western US and Mexico earlier than or throughout daybreak; see the August Sky & Telescope, web page 50. Detailed timetables.


Need to grow to be a greater astronomer? Study your approach across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every little thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature pastime. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the middle of every concern 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 may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The essential 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, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; practically thrice as many. The subsequent up, as soon as you realize your approach round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And browse easy methods to use sky charts with a telescope.

You may additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, similar to Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas Companion by Robust and Sinnott, or the larger Night time Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for rookies, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which can 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 talents to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Find Mercury low in the dawn (mid-August 2019)

Mercury is vivid however getting decrease in early daybreak this weekg.

Mercury shows itself low within the daybreak this week, decrease each morning, because it brightens from magnitude –zero.eight to –1.three. Search for it about 30 or 40 minutes earlier than dawn. Do not confuse it with lesser, twinklier Procyon properly off to its proper.

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

Jupiter on July 18, 2019

The non-Purple-Spot facet of Jupiter, imaged on July 18th by Christopher Go. South right here is up. Notice the blue festoons within the Equatorial Zone, the intense marking at considered one of them, and the pronounced, common ripples within the south fringe of the intense North Tropical Zone.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.three, between the ft of Ophiuchus) is the white dot within the south as twilight fades. After darkish it strikes decrease towards the southwest.

Orange Antares, a lot fainter at magnitude, twinkles 7° to Jupiter’s decrease proper. Jupiter and Antares type a shallow, tilted, practically isosceles triangle with Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) to Antares’s proper. Delta, a long-term eruptive variable, has been not an excessive amount of fainter than Antares for many of the final 19 years.

In a telescope Jupiter is 40 arcseconds vast and shrinking. See Bob King’s observing information to Jupiter.

Saturn on July 16, 2019

Saturn on July 16th, imaged by Damian Peach with the 1-meter Chilescope in common seeing. South right here is up. “No notable spots or storms,” he writes.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.2, in Sagittarius) is the regular, pale yellowish “star” within the south-southeast throughout and after nightfall, 29° left or higher left of Jupiter. Beneath 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 properly up within the southeast by 11 p.m. and highest within the south by about 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 rely on 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 beneath the night sky along with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“This journey is made potential by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a easy algorithm. Take a look at concepts by experiments and observations. Construct on these concepts that go the take a look at. Reject those that fail. Comply with the proof wherever it leads, and query every little thing. Settle for these phrases, and the cosmos is yours.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014

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