Museum

Astronomy Calendar

This calendar of celestial events is frequently updated.
Check out what's happening in the sky this August!

August 11 - New Moon. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 1:58 am AKST. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

August 12, 13 - Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The thin crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus but can appear anywhere in the sky.

Learn more about the Perseids Meteor Shower from NASA with this short video!

August 17 - Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation of 45.9 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the bright planet in the western sky after sunset.

August 26 - Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 3:57 am AKST. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Sturgeon Moon because the large sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes and other major lakes were more easily caught at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.

August 26 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 18.3 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

Use star wheels and astrolabes to find celestial bodies! 

Sea and Sky has a yearly calendar to help you plan future outings.
Top Image: Midnight Sun by H. Robertsson. Bottom image: Perseids Meteor Shower NASA/JPL. 


This project was funded under NASA  cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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