Steve’s Place

Photography and Astrophotography

Astro Calendar

Events of interest for August ….

August – Many thanks again for all your contributions to the group. Don’t ever forget, there is no such thing as a daft question in here. Sadly, we have possibly now seen the last of the noctilucent clouds for this year but aurora season is about to begin in about a month or so. Don’t forget this is the month for the Perseids meteor shower – one of the best of the year.

There are a few changes in this months “What’s Up” and I am trying to research as much upcoming activity as possible. There will be more postings on upcoming Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s) which are best placed for viewing. This is in part due to my own observatory now being functional and remoted and this also provides me some steerage on upcoming events.

August 02 – SATURN – Saturn is at Opposition, the ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.

August 08 – NEW MOON – The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 13:51 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

August 12-13 – PERSEIDS METEORS – The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The waxing crescent moon will set early in the evening, leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

August 14 – STAR CLUSTER – The globular cluster M15 (NGC 7078; mag 6.2) in Pegasus will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 12°10’N, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere; it can be seen at latitudes between 82°N and 57°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible around 22:23 (BST), 37° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:03, 47° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 03:51, 36° above your south-western horizon. At magnitude 6.3, M15 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

August 15 – MOON – The Moon will pass first quarter phase, appearing prominent in the evening sky and setting in the middle of the night. From Scarborough , it will become visible around 20:58 (BST), 13° above your south-western horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting 2 hours and 36 minutes after the Sun at 23:10. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated.The Moon orbits the Earth once every four weeks, causing its phases to cycle through new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter, and back to new moon once every 29.5 days. As it progresses through this cycle, it is visible at different times of day. At first quarter, it appears high in the sky at sunset before sinking towards the horizon and setting in the middle of the night.

August 15 – STAR CLUSTER – The globular cluster M2 (NGC 7089; mag 6.5) in Aquarius will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 0°49’S, it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 69°N and 70°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible around 22:18 (BST), 25° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:02, 34° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 03:54, 24° above your south-western horizon. At magnitude 6.6, M2 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

August 18 – METEORS – The ?-Cygnid meteor shower will be active from 3 August to 25 August, producing its peak rate of meteors around 18 August. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing ?-Cygnid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point – in the constellation Draco – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky. From Scarborough the radiant point is circumpolar, which means it is always above the horizon and the shower will be active throughout the night. The shower is likely produce its best displays in the hours around 22:00 BST, when its radiant point is highest in the sky. At this time, the Earth’s rotation turns Scarborough to face optimally towards the direction of the incoming meteors, maximising the number that rain vertically downwards, producing short trails close to the radiant point. At other times, there will be fewer meteors burning up over Scarborough, and they will tend to enter the atmosphere at an oblique angle, producing long-lived meteors that may traverse a wide area of the sky before completely burning up. The shower is expected to reach peak activity at around 01:00 BST on 18 August 2021. From Scarborough, the radiant of the shower will appear at a peak altitude of 85° above your horizon, and on the basis of this, we estimate that you may be able to see up to 2 meteors per hour at the shower’s peak. The Moon, in Ophiuchus, will be only 4 days away from full phase at the shower’s peak, presenting significant interference throughout the night. The radiant of the ?-Cygnid meteor shower is at around right ascension 19h00m, declination 58°N.

August 19 – JUPITER – Jupiter at Opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter’s cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet. At around the same time that Jupiter passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest and largest.

August 20 – JUPITER – Jupiter will reach opposition, when it lies opposite to the Sun in the sky. Lying in the constellation Capricornus, it will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight local time. From Scarborough, it will be visible between 21:30 and 04:45. It will become accessible around 21:30, when it rises to an altitude of 7° above your south-eastern horizon. It will reach its highest point in the sky at 01:07, 22° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible around 04:45 when it sinks below 8° above your south-western horizon. At the moment of opposition, Jupiter will lie at a distance of 4.01 AU, and its disk will measure 48.0 arcsec in diameter, shining at magnitude -2.9.

August 20 – MOON/SATURN – The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°42′ to the south of Saturn. The Moon will be 12 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible between 20:55 and 02:41. They will become accessible around 20:55, when they rise to an altitude of 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will reach their highest point in the sky at 23:48, 16° above your southern horizon. They will become inaccessible around 02:41 when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Saturn at mag 0.2, both in the constellation Capricornus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

August 22 – FULL MOON – Blue Moon -The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 12:02 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Sturgeon Moon because the large sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes and other major lakes were more easily caught at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon. Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon. This rare calendar event only happens once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain 4 full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years.

August 22 – MOON/JUPITER – The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°57′ to the south of Jupiter. The Moon will be 14 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible between 21:20 and 04:34. They will become accessible around 21:20, when they rise to an altitude of 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will reach their highest point in the sky at 00:57, 21° above your southern horizon. They will become inaccessible around 04:34 when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.7, and Jupiter at mag -2.9, both in the constellation Capricornus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

August 30 – MOON – The Moon will pass last quarter phase, rising in the middle of the night and appearing prominent in the pre-dawn sky. From Scarborough, it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 22:29 (BST) and reaching an altitude of 54° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:41. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated. The Moon orbits the Earth once every four weeks, causing its phases to cycle through new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter, and back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

Observations and imaging now being conducted at the Muston Imaging Group (MIG) near Filey, North Yorks
MIG – https://www.facebook.com/MIGastronomy

Don’t forget our sister group with near real time aurora alerts ….
AUK – Aurora UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuroraUK/

Note: Times are marked BST those without BST are UTC (ie an hour less)
Thanks to: in-the-sky.org, Sky at Night and various online astronomy calendars + own input

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