The sky is going to be a busy place this month, from The Perseids Meteor Shower to some great views of Jupiter. Lets take a closer look at what to expect from August’s astronomical events.
Saturn at Opposition – August 2nd
This means that relative to the earth, Saturn will be directly opposite to the sun. Earth is positioned directly between the Sun and the planet. So, when the sun sets, Saturn will rise in the sky.
New Moon – August 8th
The new moon is the first of the lunar phases. When a new moon occurs, we are seeing the moon as it is not lit up by the sun. So, it appears as if there is no moon in the sky.
Hows does this work? Basically, it means that if we were to look at the three celestial bodies from far away, the Earth would be positioned between the Sun and the Moon – much like it is in a solar eclipse.
Note: a solar eclipse occurs when the lineup is perfect so that the earth is exactly in front of the moon.
Perseids Meteor Shower Peak – August 11 – 13
The Perseids Meteor Shower is an annual meteor shower that takes place toward the end of each summer. This year’s shower started on July 17 and will occur until August 24. The meter shower will reach its peak between the 11th and the 13th.
The great thing about the Perseids is that you don’t need any equipment, like a telescope, to enjoy the show. During the its peak, you can expect to see up to 60 meteors per hour.
The meteor shower is visible each night starting around 10 pm and is best viewed in the hours just before dawn.
Jupiter at Opposition – August 20th
Same as with Saturn earlier in the month, Jupiter will be at opposition. Earth will be positioned between Jupiter and the Sun, meaning when the sun is setting in the west, Jupiter will be rising in the east.
In addition to being visible for the entire night, Jupiter will be brighter than any other time of the year on this night.
Full Moon – August 22
A full moon occurs when the entirety of the moon is illuminated by the sun. This is the best time to observe the moon as it will be at its brightest.