Waning Gibbous Moon – Aldebaran Conjunction

   Saturday morning August 24th about an hour before sunrise local time look for the 23-day old waning gibbous Moon to be about 1o from the reddish star Aldebaran. Aldebaran represents the ‘angry eye’ of Taurus the Bull, and is at the end of the v-shaped open star cluster, the Hyades.

   
   
   

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Sun Not Really in Virgo

   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Virgo the Maiden on Friday August 23rd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is toward the west and still within the boundaries of the constellation of Leo the Lion.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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August Apogee Moon

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Saturday August 17th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 31.84 Earth diameters 251,954 miles (405,480 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee Moon the 17-day old waning gibbous Moon rises about 1 hour before midnight local time and sets later the following morning.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? From our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However, in reality, the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*
   *Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

   Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.


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Mercury May Get Stung!

   Saturday morning August 17th the innermost planet, Mercury, will be within about 1o from the open star cluster M-44. Otherwise known as the Beehive Cluster this is a group of around 200 stars located in Cancer the Crab at a distance of close to 600 light years. In dark enough skies M-44 looks like a fuzzy out-of-focus star, and is well worth a look with binoculars or telescope.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Venus at Superior Conjunction


   On Wednesday August 14th the inner planet Venus will have moved into superior conjunction – on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth. Venus will reappear on the east side of the Sun later next month and start becoming visible in the evening skies over the western horizon.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Perseids Meteor Shower – 2019

   While August signals the end of summer vacation for students and teachers, for sky-watchers the month signals the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower. This annual event occurs when the Earth passes through the path of debris left behind by the Comet P/SwiftTuttle. The Perseids, like all meteor showers, are named for the region of the sky that the meteors seem to radiate from. The Perseids radiant is within the constellation Perseus.
   The meteor shower lasts slightly longer than a month, beginning around July 17 and ending around August 24. The best times for viewing, when the maximum number of meteors could be seen (under ideal conditions), is the peak night, on August 13th. The best time for viewing the meteors is after midnight and in the couple of hours before the Sun rises. At this time, our position on the Earth will face directly into the “cloud” of debris.
   This year the peak night is 3 days before full Moon which is good news because the waxing gibbous Moon will set at around 4-5 am local time as the area around the Pleiades and the radiant rise in the east. This leaves maybe 2 hours of viewing before the sky brightens too much.

  Where should you look to find Perseus and the meteors? For those viewing from mid-northern latitudes (40-50 degrees Perseus rises around midnight over the northeast horizon. By early morning, the Perseids radiant is very high, nearly overhead toward the northeast horizon.

One Perseid Down- Many More to Go?
Perseids: The Peak Night

Here is a wonderful short video about a falling star by Sascha Geddert.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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August Moon at Descending Node


   Monday August 12th the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

   On the day of the node crossing the 12.0-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southern horizon and will be about 6-7o to the east from the ringed planet Saturn. Jupiter shines brightly further to the west near the reddish star Antares. With binoculars or telescope the dwarf planet Ceres may be visible.

   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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