August Sky | Astronomical events have meteor shower, eclipse and more

We get it: it’s hard to get out of bed on cold nights to look up at the August sky, but whoever has the courage and determination will be rewarded. This month we will have the peak of one of meteor showers the most anticipated of the year, the Perseids, and several good opportunities to observe planets such as Mars, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury.

Also, on August 29, we will have the first launch “window” of NASA’s Artemis I mission, the first of a space program that aims to put humans back on the surface of the Moon. This inaugural flight will be unmanned, but it is a very important step: this is where NASA will test all the instruments of the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, before starting to send astronauts to Artemis II, in 2023, or trying to land during Artemis III, in 2025 or 2026.

Major Astronomical Events in the August Sky

August 2nd : we started the month with a conjunction between the Marten and Uranus, that is to say that the two planets will be very close in Heaven. The pair will appear on the eastern horizon around 1 a.m., with Uranus to the right of Mars. The stars will be higher in the sky just before dawn, to the north, with Uranus below and to the left of the Red Planet.

The proximity of Mars makes the task of locating Uranus, making it an excellent opportunity to observe it. But you’ll need binoculars with good magnification or a small telescope to see anything, as it’s one of the farthest planets in the solar system, so it’s dimly lit.

August 12: in the second week of the month we will have another conjunction, this time between the Moon and Saturn. Look for the pair heading north at 12:55 a.m., when Saturn is slightly below and to the right of the Moon.

At the same time, Jupiter will be the very bright “star” below and to the right of Saturn, in the direction of the northwest, and Mars will appear on the horizon, further to the east. This is the ideal type of event for a novice observer, as it is not visible to the naked eye.

Sky simulation on August 12, 2022 at 12:55 a.m., looking north. (Image: Reproduction / Stellarium Web)

August 13: The Perseid meteor shower will be active for most of the month: it started on July 17 and will continue until August 24. But the peak will be on August 13, when under ideal conditions (clear skies, far from the light pollution of big cities) the estimate is 24 meteors per hour.

To observe it, look for its radiant, the constellation of Perseus, from 2:30 a.m., when it rises in the north. The best time is before sunrise, around 6 am.

August 14: Saturn will be in opposition, that is, directly opposite the Sun in the sky, which makes it brighter. The planet will be visible all night, rising in the east at 6:33 p.m. and setting in the west at 5:54 a.m.

Also on August 14, we will have a conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter. The pair will appear on the eastern horizon around 9:20 p.m., with the distance between them decreasing throughout the night. Around 6 am on the 15th, Saturn will be very close to the moon, just to the right, heading west.

August 19: conjunction between the Moon and Mars. The pair will be visible in the sky from 12:40 a.m., when it appears on the northwest horizon, and will be at the highest point in the sky around 6:00 a.m. north.

August 28: Mercury it will reach its highest point in the sky at 5:54 p.m., at sunset, and it will be quite bright, which makes it easy to observe: just look at the horizon to the west.

In fact, the viewing window is much larger: it will be 20ยบ or more above the horizon for almost a month, between August 10 and September 9. August 28 is just the day when it will be “the highest”. The advice is always the same: look west at sunset.

Moon phases in the August sky

August begins with the Moon in its first quarter phase and ends with a new Moon. These will be the phases of the moon During the month:

  • On August 5, 2022 at 08:06 the Moon will be in the phase of the first quarter
  • On August 11, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. we will have the full moon
  • On August 19, 2022 at 1:36 a.m., the Moon will be in a waning quarter
  • On August 27, 2022 at 5:17 am we will have the new moon

mission to the moon

NASA intends to launch the first Artemis mission between late August and early September: the earliest possible date is August 29 at 10:33 a.m. ET. Launched on this date, Artemis I would last 42 days, with the Orion capsule returning to Earth 42 days after its launch on October 10.

The SLS rocket and the Orion capsule will be sent on a trip “around the Moon” between the end of August and the beginning of September. (Image: NASA/Reproduction)

Artemis I will be unmanned: the purpose of the mission is to test the Orion capsule and all its systems during a trip “around the Moon” before a similar mission, but with three American astronauts and a Canadian, called Artemis II, which is only expected to arrive in May 2024.

If it is not possible to launch on the first date, NASA will have other opportunities on September 2 at 2:48 p.m. and September 5 at 7:12 p.m. Whatever the date, it will be possible to follow the event live on Nasa Channel no youtube.

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