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David Mayeux
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Current Astronomy "Headlines"


First Quarter
August 3


Full Moon
August 10


Last Quarter August 17


New Moon
August 25

Listed below are notable astronomical events coming up for the month of
August 2014:

Naked-Eye Planets

Mercury
In August, Mercury beings the month in the morning sky, very deep in the Sun’s glare until reaching superior conjunction with the Sun on 8th of the month. Thereafter, Mercury is technically an evening object, setting with or after the Sun. However, Mercury will still be so deep in the Sun’s glare by month’s end, that even then it will not be visible after sunset. Mercury has spent the whole month traversing the constellation Leo, and will be in western Virgo by month’s end. September will offer a better chance for viewing the elusive, tiny planet!

Venus
Venus is in the morning sky all month long in August, starting in the constellation Gemini. Venus actually comes into a close conjunction with the planet Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky on the morning of the 18th, less than 2 degrees south of the Beehive Cluster of stars, M44! Nevertheless, Venus loses steady ground against the glare of sunrise all month long, ending up in the constellation Leo, only about 7 or 8 degrees from the star Regulus, and about twice that far from the center of the Sun itself.

Mars
In August, Mars is about 12 or so degrees east of the bright star Spica of Virgo, hovering modestly high in the SW in the early evening at the beginning of the month. Mars catches up to, and passes within about 4 degrees of, the planet Saturn on the 25th of the month. Mars finishes the month in a triangle with Saturn and the Moon in the constellation Libra about an hour after sunset, low in the SW.

Jupiter
Jupiter starts August extremely deep in the Sun’s glare in the pre-dawn sky in the constellation Cancer. For the entire month, Jupiter seems to pull ever farther away from the solar glare in the early morning, finally rising sufficiently out of that glare by about mid-month to be able to see it. On the 18th of the month, Venus comes into a close conjunction with Jupiter, and by the end of the month, Jupiter is rising a little before 4:30 a.m. in Cancer.

Saturn
In August, Saturn resumes normal eastward motion with respect to the stars in the constellation Libra. Its annual motion is VERY slow, though! Mars catches up to and bypasses Saturn about 4 degrees away on the 25th of the month, and Saturn ends the month in a triangle with Mars and the nearly-First Quarter Moon after sunset.

Telescopic Planets

Uranus
In early August, Uranus is rising in the evening sky at about 11:15 p.m. in the constellation Pisces. Uranus rises at a little after 9:15 p.m. by the end of the month.

Neptune
Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius in the month of August, rising at a little after 9:30 p.m. at the beginning of the month. Neptune comes to solar opposition on the 29th of the month – visible all night long to end the month!

Dwarf Planets

Ceres
Ceres is in the constellation Virgo, making a virtually perfect equilateral triangle with the planet Mars and the star Spica of Virgo at the beginning of August, somewhat north of those two naked-eye objects. Mars, however, glides through the constellations faster than Ceres, and Ceres nears the horizon ever earlier throughout the month. On the 30th of the month, the young crescent Moon passes close to the largest asteroid, and at month’s end, Ceres sets as early as about 10:30 p.m. Optical aid will be needed to spot the asteroid / dwarf planet.

Pluto
In August, Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius, already above the horizon in the evening sky after sunset.

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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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