Astronomy Info & Events: August

Moon Phases

August 7: Full Moon (the Sturgeon Moon)

August 14: Last Quarter Moon

August 21: New Moon (Solar Eclipse!)

August 29: First Quarter Moon

Special Events

August 7: Partial lunar eclipse (not visible from North America)

August 11/12/13: The summer’s best meteor shower, the Perseid meteor shower, peaks these nights.  The Moon rises after midnight.

August 20: 40th Anniversary of Voyager 2 launch.

August 21: Partial solar eclipse from Edmonton  (Total Solar Eclipse from specific places across the US!)

Partial eclipse times for Edmonton are as follows:
Partial eclipse begins at 10:24 a.m.
Maximum eclipse at 11:35 a.m.  (68.4% of Sun’s area will be obscured by Moon)
Partial eclipse ends at 12:49 p.m.

The RASC Observatory and TELUS World of Science – Edmonton will have telescopes set up from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (clear skies permitting) for public viewing of the partial eclipse.  Live webcast of the total solar eclipse can be seen at various websites like https://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse

August 23: First sighting of the slim waxing crescent Moon after the solar eclipse. Saskatchewan Summer Star Party, Cypress Hills, SK (until August 27)

August 25: Waxing crescent Moon near Jupiter and the bright star Spica in the west after sunset.
August 30: Lunar straight wall visible tonight.

Visible Planets

Mercury is not visible this month as the angle of the ecliptic from our latitude has Mercury setting in the west not long after sunset.

Venus is visible low along the eastern horizon before sunrise during the month.  It is located within the constellation of Gemini, the twins, from start of the month until August 24, after which Venus quickly moves into the adjacent constellation of Cancer, the crab.  Venus will be seen by the waning crescent Moon on the mornings of August 18 and 19.  Venus is unmistakable as the brightest object (other than the Moon) in the predawn eastern sky.

Mars is not visible this month as it was at superior conjunction (on the other side of the Sun as seen from the Earth) on July 27 and is still too close in alignment with the Sun to be seen this month.

Jupiter is located low in the west-southwest sky at sunset and is currently situated in the constellation of Virgo, the maiden, just above and to the west of the bright star, Spica.  After sunset on August 24 and August 25 the waxing crescent Moon joins Jupiter in the western sky.

Saturn is located low in the southern sky after sunset residing within the lower east portion of the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. It can be found more easily by looking for it just above the spout of the “teapot” of the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer.  Look for Saturn just below the waxing gibbous Moon on the evening of August 2.  Saturn’s rings are tilted by 26.7 degrees which provides for exceptional views of the ring system through a telescope.  Saturn will be a highlight of our summer observing from the RASC Observatory.