This Week’s Sky at a Look, August 9 – 17

August 9, 2019 - Comment

  The Moon accompanies Jupiter on the evening of Friday the ninth, with Antares wanting on from under. (For readability, the Moon in these scenes is all the time proven thrice its precise obvious dimension.) Friday, August 9 • The waxing gibbous Moon shines close to Jupiter this night, as proven right here. However Jupiter,


Moon with Jupiter and Antares, Aug. 8-9, 2019

The Moon accompanies Jupiter on the evening of Friday the ninth, with Antares wanting on from under. (For readability, the Moon in these scenes is all the time proven thrice its precise obvious dimension.)

Friday, August 9

• The waxing gibbous Moon shines close to Jupiter this night, as proven right here. However Jupiter, 40 instances bigger than the Moon, is presently 1,830 instances farther away.

Jupiter’s personal 4 huge moons, roughly as huge as ours, are pinpoints in a small telescope or good, steadily braced binoculars. They’re lined up east and west of the planet. This night you may discover Europa to Jupiter’s east and Io, Callisto, and Ganymede to its west, counting outward. See the information to Jupiter’s moons for each evening in August, good worldwide, within the August Sky & Telescope, web page 51.

Saturday, August 10

• Slender home windows for good Perseid viewing. The annual Perseid meteor bathe is predicted peak late on the evening of August 12-13, however the waxing gibbous Moon will not set that evening till simply earlier than the start of daybreak.

Chances are you’ll do higher a day earlier than that, on the morning of the 12th, when you catch the hour or so of darkish sky between moonset and the beginning of daybreak (for North America). And, there is a risk this yr of a second peak within the meteor charges due proper round then for North America (round 10h UT August 12th).

A day earlier on the morning of the 11th — late tonight, in different phrases — we get two darkish hours earlier than daybreak, however the meteor charges will in all probability be low. Nevertheless, there are indications that this yr’s Perseid bathe is bringing some uncommon early fireballs.

Unsure when daybreak begins? Right now of yr it is about 1 hour 45 minutes earlier than your native dawn time when you’re on this planet’s midnorthern latitudes (close to 40° N.)

This is the Worldwide Meteor Group’s near-real-time graph of Perseid exercise this yr, primarily based on scientific, standardized-method meteor counts coming in from visible observers across the globe.

Sunday, August 11

• The Moon shines with Saturn tonight, three° or four° to Saturn’s proper as seen throughout night in North America.

Bodily Saturn is 35 instances as massive because the Moon (not counting the rings), and tonight it is three,500 instances farther away.

Saturn’s personal largest satellite tv for pc, Titan, is 1.5 instances as massive as our Moon. A small or medium-size telescope reveals it tonight as an eight.5-magnitude orange pinpoint, about 4 ring-lengths to Saturn’s west.

Monday, August 12

• It is purported to be peak Perseid evening, however you may have the brilliant mild of the waxing gibbous Moon washing the sky, so solely the brightest meteors will present by means of. Greatest time: the later within the evening the higher, proper as much as the start of Tuesday’s daybreak.

Unsure when daybreak begins? It is about 1 hour 45 minutes earlier than your native dawn time when you’re on this planet’s mid-northern latitudes (close to 40° N.)

Tuesday, August 13

• The nights round full Moon, equivalent to now, are historically thought-about the worst for lunar observing. However not in case your curiosity is crater rays! These present greatest beneath excessive, shadowless illumination. To go exploring, see Chuck Wooden’s “Unruly Crater Rays” within the August Sky & Telescope, web page 52. Are you aware in regards to the hill-blocked ray sample of Kepler?

Wednesday, August 14

• Full Moon tonight and tomorrow evening. The precise second of full Moon is eight:29 a.m. tomorrow morning EDT. So for night skywatchers within the time zones of the Americas, each this night and tomorrow night qualify as “full moon” about equally.

Tonight the Moon is in dim Capricornus. Tomorrow it will be simply throughout the constellation border into dim Aquarius.

Thursday, August 15

• Totally different folks have a better or more durable time seeing star colours, particularly delicate ones. To me, the tints of shiny stars stand out a little bit higher on a shiny sky background — equivalent to now we have with the moonlight tonight.

As an illustration, the 2 brightest stars of summer season are Vega, overhead quickly after darkish, and Arcturus, shining within the west. Vega is white with only a contact of blue. Arcturus is a yellow-orange big. Do their colours stand out a little bit higher for you in moonlight or in late twilight?

Binoculars, after all, all the time make star colours simpler.

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 under it.

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

This complete big sample was named “the Andromegasus Dipper” by the late Sky & Telescope columnist George Lovi. It is formed form of like a large Little Dipper with an extra-big bowl, and it is presently 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 all the time, you may discover that it is oriented greater than 90° counterclockwise in comparison with Andromegasus.


Need to change into a greater astronomer? Be taught your manner across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding the whole lot fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an out of doors nature interest. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the heart of every challenge 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 a whole bunch 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 commonplace 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 manner round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And browse methods to use sky charts with a telescope.

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

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for newcomers, I do not suppose, and never on mounts and tripods which are 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 creating the abilities to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

View of Mercury before sunrise, Aug. 10, 2019

For just a few mornings round August 11th, Castor and Pollux level all the way down to Mercury.

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

Per week later, Mercury is brighter and extra instantly under Castor and Pollux (as seen from 40° north latitude, for which these scenes are all the time drawn).

Mercury shows itself low in early daybreak this week because it brightens from magnitude –zero.2 to –zero.eight. Use binoculars to search for it very low about 45 minutes earlier than dawn. It is under or decrease proper of twinklier Pollux and Castor, as proven right here. Do not confuse it with Procyon off to its proper.

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

Jupiter on July 18, 2019

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

Jupiter (magnitude –2.three, between the toes of Ophiuchus) is the white dot within the south as twilight fades. Jupiter begins getting decrease within the south-southwest quickly after darkish. Orange Antares, a lot fainter at magnitude, twinkles 7° to its decrease proper.

Jupiter and Antares kind a shallow, practically isosceles triangle with Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) to their proper. Delta, a long-term eruptive variable of the Gamma Cassiopeiae kind, has been solely a little bit fainter than Antares for many of the final 19 years — after it brightened by some 50% in July 2000.

In a telescope Jupiter is 41 arcseconds huge and shrinking progressively. 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,” writes Peach. “The [north polar] hexagon is in poor health outlined at greatest, although maybe due to the under par seeing.”

Saturn (magnitude +zero.2, 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 you may discover the deal with of the Sagittarius Teapot.

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

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, in Aquarius) is properly up within the southeast by 11 or midnight and highest within the south properly earlier than daybreak. 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 beneath 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.


“This journey is made doable by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a easy algorithm. Check concepts by experiments and observations. Construct on these concepts that go the check. Reject those that fail. Comply with the proof wherever it leads, and query the whole lot. Settle for these phrases, and the cosmos is yours.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014

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