NASA’s skywatching tips for August include a meteor shower


What’s Up: August 2023 Skywatching Ideas from NASA

NASA has simply launched its month-to-month replace on what to look out for within the skies over the subsequent few weeks, with Saturn, the Perseid meteors, and a “tremendous blue moon” all that includes.


With Venus and Mars having slipped from view in the interim, we are able to flip our gaze towards Saturn as an alternative. The second planet in our photo voltaic system reaches opposition this month, which means it’s straight reverse the solar as seen from Earth. It’ll be showing simply after sundown and can stay seen till daybreak, giving us loads of time to test it out. On the morning of August 3, Saturn will probably be viewable proper beside the moon.

For those who’re having bother pinpointing Saturn, then attempt utilizing one of these astronomy apps.

Perseid meteors

This time of yr provides an awesome likelihood to see among the best identified meteor showers, the Perseids.

“The meteors are bits of mud — most no bigger than sand grains — that originate from comet Swift-Tuttle,” NASA explains. As Earth sweeps by means of the comet’s particles path, the particles expend within the ambiance, ensuing within the annual bathe.

The height evening for the Perseids bathe is August 12/13, although just a few days earlier than and after will even provide a very good likelihood to see the blazes of sunshine streaking throughout the evening sky (clear skies allowing, in fact).

The most effective time to view the meteor bathe is between midnight and daybreak, with meteor exercise anticipated to be at its biggest within the hour earlier than daybreak.


You’ll be listening to quite a bit in regards to the moon in August, because the month begins and finishes with a full moon, one thing that solely occurs as soon as each few years.

“A second full moon in a single calendar month is often referred to as a ‘blue moon,’” NASA says. “They occur each two-to-three years as a result of the moon’s month-to-month cycle is only a bit shorter than the typical size of a month. So finally a full moon will occur originally of a month, with sufficient days left for an entire lunar cycle. When that occurs, we get a blue moon.”

This month’s blue moon, on August 30, can be a supermoon. The company explains: “The moon’s orbit isn’t an ideal circle, so generally it’s slightly farther away from Earth and generally nearer. At its closest level, referred to as perigee, it’s 14% nearer than at its farthest. About three-to-four instances a yr, the complete moon part occurs to coincide with the moon reaching perigee, and we name that occasion a supermoon.” It notes that though it “technically seems slightly bit larger (and a tad brighter) than the typical full moon, the distinction shouldn’t be tremendous noticeable to the attention.”

The mixture of those two particular full moons ends in what’s often known as a “tremendous blue moon,” a phenomenon that takes place solely about as soon as each 10 years on common, although the time between occurrences can fluctuate from two months to twenty years or extra.

“So get pleasure from this month’s two full moons, and whereas the second received’t seem super-sized, or any bluer than standard, now what makes it particular,” NASA says.

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