Venus and Mars are setting along with Leo not long after the sun these evenings. At the month’s start, the red planet is still near Regulus after their recent close call. Venus is leaving Leo. On, to Virgo. A thin crescent moon passes Mars on the 9th and Venus on the 10th. Watch Venus pass very close to the star Zavijava on the 13th. The two will be 0.1° apart.
Another close call involves Mercury and Mars on the 18th. After emerging from superior conjunction on the 1st, in the second half of the month the messenger planet is barely making its way into the evening sky in the same area as the red planet. The two are a little less than 0.1° apart at their closest. Unfortunately, not many people will get a good view.
Mercury passes Mars and seems on pace with Venus. Venus is passing Porrima on the 24th and 25th. At the end of the month, Venus is well on its way to Spica while Mercury is approaching Zaniah.
On the other side of the sky, Jupiter and Saturn are rising as darkness begins. Saturn remains lodged in Capricornus and Jupiter between Capricornus and Aquarius.See a nearly full moon close to Saturn on the 20th and close to Jupiter the next night. Both planets go through opposition this month. Saturn’s opposition is on the 2nd at 8.935 astronomical units from Earth. Jupiter’s is on the 20th at 4.013 a.u.
The two heads of Pisces are rising when night begins. Watch the rest of them come up over about two hours.
On or close to the meridian as darkness begins are Sagittarius and Corona Australis. For mid-latitude northern hemisphere viewers, these are far south in the sky. Compare the southern crown to the northern crown Corona Borealis which is still high and a bit west. In the southern hemisphere, things are reversed. Corona Australis is high overhead while Corona Borealis is low and in the northwest.
From the north, see Scorpius in the south a little west of the meridian at nightfall. From the southern hemisphere, the scorpion is high overhead.
Among the constellations high overhead for northern hemisphere viewers on August evenings are Aquila, Cygnus, and Hercules.
August is a good month for southern hemisphere observers to see Phoenix rising in the southeast.
The Perseids meteor shower peaks around the 11th and 12th. The moon is a little before first quarter, so the view should be very good for most of the night. This is primarily a northern hemisphere shower.
Mars is at northern solstice on the 25th.
The moon’s circumstances this month:
New 8th First Quarter 15th Full 22nd Last Quarter 30th
Northern lunistice 5th at 25.7°
Goes south 12th
Southern lunistice 18th 25.8°
Goes north 30th
Apogee 2nd at 404,400 km
Perigee 17th at 369,200 km
Apogee 30th at 404,100km
Notable conjunctions this month:
1st – Uranus and moon 1.7°
1st – Mercury superior 1.7°
6th – Moon and Pollux 3.1°
9th – Mercury and Moon 3.2°
9th – Moon and Regulus 4.5°
10th – Mars and moon 4.0°
11th – Venus and moon 3.9°
11th – Mercury and Regulus 1.1°
16th – Moon and Antares 4.3°
19th – Mercury and Mars 0.1°
20th – Saturn and moon 3.6°
22nd – Jupiter and moon 3.7°
24th – Neptune and moon 3.7°
28th – Uranus and moon 1.4°