below are notable astronomical events coming up for the month of
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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!
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.
In August, Pluto is in
the constellation Sagittarius, already above the horizon in the
evening sky after sunset.
Showers - http://amsmeteors.org/showers.html
Comets - http://cometography.com/current_comets.html
events - http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights