Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in August 2013. Mark your calendars.
New Moon: August 6
First Quarter Moon: August 14
Closest to Earth: August 8 (225,110 miles super-size Moon)
Full Moon: August 20
Last Quarter Moon: August 28
Farthest from Earth: August 30 (251,581 miles)
Evening: Saturn, Venus (after sunset)
Morning: Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury (Mercury before sunrise first two weeks of August)
August 10: Sun enters the astronomical constellation Leo.
August 22: The Sun enters the astrological sign Virgo.
August 1: Lammas Day, which celebrates the “first harvest”, is a cross-quarter day. On cross-quarter days the Earth is approximately half way between the official seasonal start points (solstices and equinoxes) in its orbit. Cross-quarter days have been celebrated since antiquity. They mark when weather changes associated with the upcoming season start to be felt. “Fall is in the air”. Lammas Day is still celebrated in Scotland and England, but we here in the US use Labor Day to mark the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of fall.
August 11-13: the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks. Meteors can be observed starting at 11pm local time, but are most active between 1am to 3am. A waxing crescent moon will not interfere with viewing the shower. Expect about one to two meteors a minute.
All month Venus is just above the western horizon just after sunset.
August 1-5: Lunar conjunctions, look east at 5:15am. Three planets, Jupiter (highest and brightest), Mars (middle), and Mercury (lowest) form a diagonal line. August 1 Moon will be left of the star Aldebaran. August 3 Jupiter will be left of the Moon. August 4 Mars will be left and above of the Moon. August 5 Mercury will be left and above of the setting Moon.
August 9: The crescent moon will be to the left of Venus just after sunset.
August 12: The Moon is below Saturn.
August 31: Moon is right of Jupiter, look east at 5:15am.
First visual reports and photographs of Comet ISON (coming in November) expected from advanced amateur astronomers.
August 10th, 1972 – Great Daylight 1972 Fireball streaked across the Rocky Mountains, never getting closer than 36 miles to Earth.
August 25th, 1989 – Voyager 2 makes the first flyby of Neptune.
Wishing you clear skies