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David Mayeux
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Current Astronomy "Headlines"


Last Quarter August 6


New Moon August 14


First Quarter August 22


Full Moon August 29

Listed below are notable astronomical events coming up for the month of
August 2015:

Naked-Eye Planets

Mercury
Mercury is in the evening sky at the start of August in the constellation Leo. On the 7th Mercury is in a small triangular conjunction with the planet Jupiter and the star Regulus of Leo. Mercury ends the month setting at about 8:45 p.m. - a little more than an hour after the Sun does.

Venus
Venus is effectively lost in the glare of the Sun for at least the first half of the month of August, coming to inferior conjunction with the Sun on the 15th of the month. Thereafter, Venus rises in the morning before the Sun. Only by about the last full week of August does Venus begin rising early enough so that it can be seen as a “morning star”, before the light of dawn starts to permeate the sky. By month’s end, Venus rises at a little before 5:15 a.m. in the constellation Cancer.

Mars
At the beginning of August, Mars rises at about 5:15 a.m. in the constellation Gemini. Mars crosses over into the constellation Cancer on the 6th of the month and slowly traverses the constellation for the remainder of the month. Mars rises at a little after 4:45 a.m. on the last day of the month.

Jupiter
Jupiter is exceedingly difficult to see even at the beginning of August, setting at about 9:15 p.m., ever deeper in the Sun’s glare. Although Jupiter, Mercury, and the star Regulus come into a triple conjunction on the evening of the 7th, it will be extremely low on the WNW horizon, it will be so close to the glare of the Sun that even with a very flat horizon, it may well prove impossible to discern with the naked eye. Jupiter comes to solar conjunction on the 26th of the month. Thereafter, Jupiter rises in the morning sky, although too deep in the solar glare to be able to see at that time.

Saturn
Saturn begins August moderately high in the south in the constellation Libra, just a couple of degrees west of the stars of the head of Scorpius the scorpion. All month long, Saturn visually seems nearly stationary in its annual motion and finishes the month setting at a little before 11:30 p.m.

Telescopic Planets

Uranus
Uranus rises in the constellation Pisces all month long at a little before 11:30 p.m., and at the end of the month rises a little before 9:30 p.m.

Neptune
Neptune rises at about 9:45 p.m. at the beginning of August in the constellation Aquarius, and comes to opposition on the last day of the month – it’s up all night long from sunset to sunrise on that evening!

Dwarf Planets

Ceres
Ceres rises a bit before 8:45 p.m. at the beginning of August just SW of the constellation Capricornus. By month’s end, it is already arisen at sunset.

Pluto
Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius for the month of August, and is already moderately high above the SSE horizon after sunset all month long. Pluto finishes the month sitting right about at meridian an hour after sunset. However, seeing it in a backyard telescope is another matter…! The icy dwarf planet is only visible as a very modest, slight “dot” of a star in a telescope of at least 8”-10” aperture. A very detailed star chart (as well as a great amount of patience and endurance!) is vitally necessary in order to spot it! Pluto glows feebly at magnitude 14.0.

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Meteor Showers - http://amsmeteors.org/showers.html

Viewable Comets - http://cometography.com/current_comets.html

Special events - http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights

 

 

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