UNITED STATES: It is important to remember that the search for all black holes, quasars, and supernovae began simply with humans gazing up at the sky. The James Webb Space Telescope is reviving interest in astronomy worldwide.
Continue reading to learn what the night sky has in store for you this month and if you want to reignite your love and amazement for astronomy or don’t want to miss August’s lineup of breathtaking cosmic performances.
August 4: Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) at its brightest
This August, the C/2017 K2, once the largest comet ever known and just detected a few years ago, will make one of its 600,000 annual visits to the Solar System.
The magnificent C/2017 K2 comet will be visible from Northwest India at 48° above the southern horizon beginning at 8:11 PM. It will sink to the horizon at 1:26 AM. It will be seen from within the Scorpius constellation and may not even require a professional telescope.
August 11: The Moon and Saturn Clash
The Moon and Saturn will appear very close to one another in the night sky on the first night of the Full Moon (only 5° apart!). However, it might be challenging to see the planet due to the bright Moon, particularly if you’re in an area with a lot of light pollution or humidity.
August 12: Another Supermoon
The third and last Supermoon of the year will be at its brightest and closest to Earth at 7:06 AM IST. This could make the Moon seem a little bigger and brighter than usual.
A “Supermoon” is a Full Moon that also occurs at perigee, the Moon’s closest approach to the Earth, giving it a larger appearance. While the stunning Full Moon event already lights the entire Moon by being diametrically opposite the Sun, it goes one step further.
The “Sturgeon Moon,” “Red Moon,” “Green Corn Moon,” and “Grain Moon” are other names for this Supermoon.
August 12-13: Perseids Meteor Shower
Many astronomers hail the Perseids Meteor Shower as one of the most beautiful displays to see all year. Up to 60 brilliant meteors can be seen per hour during the shower’s peak, which typically occurs between August 12 and August 13 morning.
Unfortunately, all except the brightest meteors may be obscured by the moonlight owing to the magnificent Full Moon that will grace the skies on the same night as the meteor shower. Due to the volume and intensity of the event, it may still be worthwhile to observe it in the dark after midnight.
The comet Swift-Tuttle is responsible for the Perseids Shower, which will mostly be seen in the Perseus constellation.
August 14: Saturn Very Close
Saturn will come excitingly close to the Earth in one of the main cosmic dishes this month. Most of the ringed planet’s one face (and some of its moons!) will be evident all night long due to its proximity and won’t set until just before daybreak.
The gas giant, which should be visible among the stars of the eastern Capricornus constellation, would be easier to picture even via a medium-sized telescope.
August 15: Jupiter and Moon’s closeness
The Moon will visit the second gas giant after spending some time in the night sky with Saturn, and the two celestial objects will appear very close in the sky.
August 18: κ-Cygnid meteor shower
Although the Perseid meteor shower usually steals the show in August, the Cygnid meteor shower will also reach its peak this month. The tiny Cygnid will round out this August night with a performance of about three meteors per hour because the Moon is nearly half as lit at this time.
August 19: Mars and Moon rendezvous
This month’s social battery will be depleted by the Moon’s only encounter with Mars, which will be very close to the Red Planet. Their picnic can be seen close to the Taurus constellation while the Moon is in its third quarter phase.
August 27: New Moon
After this month’s blindingly white Supermoon, the new Moon’s absence will leave the sky’s surface empty, allowing galaxies and star clusters to emerge. However, this phase won’t start until 1:47 PM IST; therefore, Indian astronomers might not benefit much from it until the night.
A New Moon occurs when the Moon is on the same side of the Earth as the Sun, which casts a shadow on our planet. Astronomical objects can be seen and captured in stunning detail at this time because our lunar satellite is not reflecting any light.
August 27: Mercury Close to Earth
During the same period as the New Moon, the first planet from the Sun will also pass unusually close to the Earth. Mercury will be visible above the horizon in the evening sky at an eastern elongation of 27.3° from the Sun.
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