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The August Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.


The Full Moon for August

The Full Sturgeon Moon August The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

New Moon August 2 4:45 pm EDT
First Quarter Moon August 10 2:21 pm EDT
Full Moon August 18 5:27 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon August 24 11:41 pm EDT

August Visible Lunar Highlights

Updating for below

The Planets Visibility for August


Evening sky W

Mercury midmonth is at 0.3 magnitude with a diameter 0000'07" and phase of 52.21%. Mercury is very low on the western horizon and sets at 9:01. You will need a clear flat horizon to see Mercury right after sunset.


Evening sky W

Venus midmonth is at -3.9 magnitude with a diameter 0000'10" and phase of 94.64%. Venus sets at 8:56 and you will need a clear flat horizon to see Venus right after sunset.


 SSW Sky 

Mars midmonth is at -0.5 magnitude with a diameter 0000'12" located in the constellation Scorpius visible after sunset in the south southwest. Mars sets at 12:16 am. A small telescope can reveal some surface markings on the planet. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page. See: How to find degrees.


 Evening sky W

Jupiter midmonth is at -1.7 magnitude with a diameter 0000'31" is visible after sunset in the west evening sky in the constellation Virgo. Jupiter is the brightest planet in the western sky just after sunset. Jupiter sets at 9:24 pm. When you look at Jupiter your seeing the planet as it appeared 49 minutes ago due to the 546,466,000 million miles it takes light traveling at 186,000 miles per second to reach your eyes from Jupiter. A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


Evening SSW 

Saturn midmonth is at 0.4 magnitude and diameter 0000'.17". Saturn sets at 12:51 am. Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus visible in the south southwest after sunset.  See: How to find degrees. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.0 tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations 


Morning Sky E

Uranus midmonth is at 5.8 magnitude and diameter 0000'.04" rising at 12:27 am in the constellation Pisces.

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening Sky ESE

Neptune midmonth is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 0000'.02". Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius rising at 8:02 pm..


Evening Sky ESE

 Uranus midmonth is at 5.8 magnitude and diameter 0000'.04". Uranus is in the constellation Pisces rising at 10:25 pm..

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids Midmonth

Asteroid 8 Flora at magnitude 10.5 The asteroid is only 0346'35" above and to the left of Saturn located in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Dwarf Planets


Morning Sky 

Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 0000'.00".


No Comets Brighter than 8 magnitude

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


August Meteors

The Perseids

Active from July 13th to August 26th 

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower. The Perseids are active from July 12 to August 26 peaking on the night of August 11 and morning of August 12. Meteor rate per hour are around 50-75. There are some predictions that put the expected rate at up to 150 meteors per hour 50% higher than in an average year. Perseid meteors are from debris of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, thus the name of this shower. Image below for August 12th at 2:00 am shows radiant of Perseids as indicated by
yellow circle. Read more: Perseids

Alpha Capricornids

Active from July 11th to August 10th 

The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August peaking July 27/28th. This shower is weak producing around 5 meteor per hour. The shower does show some bright fireballs. This shower appears to radiate from the constellation Capricornus. These meteors originate from the debris of comet 169P/NEAT. Image below for July 27/28th at 1:30 am shows radiant of Alpha Capricornids as indicated by
yellow circle.

Delta Aquariids

Active from July 21st to August 23rd 

The Delta Aquariids meteors peak on July 29/30th with about 15 meteors per hour. These are usually faint meteors that lack both trains and fireballs. The meteors are thought to be produced from the debris field of comet 96P/Machholz.
Image below for July 29/30th at 3:00 am shows radiant of Delta Aquariids as indicated by yellow circle.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map