Breakdown: August night sky- when & why you should look up
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Planets, asteroids, and meteors ate all things you can see in August. August for some is noted for the best month to look into the night sky thanks to the Perseid meteor shower. Many regard the Perseids as the best meteor shower of the year.
On August 4th, comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) will be at its brightest. The comet will be well aligned to catch the light of the sun which will allow it to appear bright. Look for it in the constellation Scorpius.
A week later on August 11 the Moon will be in conjunction with Saturn. The Moon and Saturn will be appear closest around midnight local time. The pair will be visible without binoculars. The Moon may interfere some as it will be full and bright.
August 12th is regarded by many as the best night for looking up as it will be the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The peak is expected to occur in the early morning hours of August 12th. During the peak, you can expect to see up to 150 meteors per hour. The Perseids Meteor Shower is caused when the Earth passes through a stream of debris left by the Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Look toward the northeastern sky. The Moon will be very bright and nearly full this night, so it’s best to plan your meteor viewing earlier in the night before the Moon fully rises.
August 14 Saturn will be at Opposition. This means that Saturn will be directly opposite from the sun in the sky – or that the Earth is exactly lined up with the sun on one side and Saturn on the other.
August 15 the Moon and Jupiter will be in conjunction. Check out the early morning hours of August 15th, the Moon and Jupiter will appear at their closest and can easily be seen On the evening of August 15 Mercury will be at its evening peak. Mercury has now swung around to the other side of its orbit and is rising to its highest in the evening sky.
Another meteor shower κ-Cygnid Meteor Shower will peak on August 18th. On this night, you can look for the peak of the κ-Cygnid meteor shower at a rate of roughly 3 meteors per hour.
On August 19 the Conjunction of the Moon & Mars will take place. The Moon and Mars will appear close in the sky on the morning of August 19th. A telescope or binoculars will give you a closer look.
August 22 Asteroid 4 Vesta at Opposition in the morning hours of August 22nd, Asteroid 4 Vesta will be at opposition and brightly lit by the sun sitting on the other side of Earth from it. 4 Vesta is one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt. A pair of standard binoculars is more than enough to see this asteroid.
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