This month is packed with amazing sky shows that surely are feast for the eyes. From moon phases, meteor showers, eclipses, to close planetary pairings, let us all mark our calendars ahead of these free astronomical viewings starting tomorrow.
Most of the astronomical events stated below were also outlined by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.
1. Moon at Apogee (August 3, 1:55am)
On this day, the Moon will reach its farthest point along its orbit. With 404, 964.18 km from the Earth, the Moon will appear slightly smaller in comparison to how it is seen at other times of the month.
2. τ–Aquarid Meteor Shower (August 6, around 12mn)
Observed from the constellation Aquarius, stargazers can witness as much as six shooting stars per hour when meteor shower reaches its maximum rate of activity on this day. Some meteors associated with the phenomenon is said to have been passing by the sky since July.
3. Partial Lunar Eclipse ( August 7-8, 11:50pm)
In times when Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun, the Sun’s light is obscured and a shadow is cast onto the Moon’s surface, this is when eclipse occurs. In a partial eclipse, the circular shadow cast by the Earth appears as a bite taken out of the Moon. Unlike solar eclipse, lunar eclipse is absolutely safe to stare at without wearing any eye protector.
4. Perseid Meteor Shower (Aug 13, around 12mn)
Observed from the constellation Perseus, another shooting star show is yet to illuminate the skies with as many as nineteen meteors per hour. The meteor shower reaches its maximum rate of activity on this day but has been going on since July.
5. Moon at Last Quarter (Aug 15, around 12mn)
This night is when the Moon falls on its last quarter. The Moon will dominate the sky when it settles at around midnight, and slowly fades in the horizon as dawn breaks.
6. Moon at Perigree (Aug 18, 9:18pm)
On this day, the Moon will reach its closest point along its orbit. With 366, 182.191 km to the Earth, the Moon will appear slightly larger in comparison to how it is seen at other times of the month.
7. Moon-Venus Close Approach (Aug 19, 3:12am)
Technically called as an appulse —when two or more astronomical objects appear close to one another— the Moon and Venus will make a close approach in the sky visible to the naked eye few hours before the dawn breaks. Both Moon and Venus will be within the constellation Gemini.
8. Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun / New Moon (Aug 22)
Note that the Total Solar Eclipse will not be seen in the Philippines. This happens when the Moon is in the middle of the Earth and the Sun, making the three astronomical bodies aligned in an almost exact straight line.
At New Moon, as the Moon lies roughly between the Earth and the Sun, and becomes lost in Sun’s glare, almost exactly half of the Moon is illuminated, making the side of the Moon that we see not illuminated, thus unobservable.
9. Moon at First Quarter (Aug 29, around 12mn)
This night is when the Moon falls on its first quarter. The Moon will dominate the sky when it rises at around 6:23 PM, and will become more prevalent in the horizon at the wee hours of the night.
10. Moon-Saturn Close Approach (Aug 30, 6:23pm)
In yet another appulse, the Moon and Saturn will make a close approach in the sky visible to the naked eye, with their highest point in the horizon around 6:41 PM. Both Moon and Saturn will be within the constellation Ophiuchus.
What are you waiting for? The night is young and so are we. Please your eyes by getting a hold of those binoculars and wait for the celestial wonders to settle in.
For further and elaborated explanation of the above mentioned astronomical phenomena, visit In-The-Sky.org
Featured image from wandtv.com