Star Calendar – August 2015

Star Calendar

August 2015

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon will now be Full near the ends of the months for a while. This month will have two occasions of perigee occurring within 24 hours of syzygy; look for Spring Tide inundations on the 1st and 30th. New Moon is timed for ideal Perseid meteor viewing this year. I plan to look for them (from Breezy Hill, Springfield, VT) during the 80th “Stellafane” convention. RIP Carl Breuning (I’ll never forget viewing Mars with the 12” Porter Turret; sharp and clear through solid cloud-cover – this surprised us both!).

Mercury slips into the evening sky as Venus departs. On the 6th and 7th, in the glare of evening twilight, there is a close tussle with Jupiter and Regulus but we may hope for a better view on the 16th, to the right of a standing crescent Moon.

Venus takes a bow and swiftly crosses the nearside of the Sun this month. Look for a liaison with Mars, beginning as the Full Moon sets on the morning of the 29th with RA conjunction, but more pleasing to the eye in the first week of September.

Sun is halfway from solstice to equinox on the 1st; “Lammas” (Loaf-Mass) is a cross-quarter harvest festival.

Mars will creep into view for early risers during the middle of this month. Diehards might look to the left of the crescent Moon at 4-4:15 AM on the 13th. Mars will then appear in line with and below Gemini’s Pollux and Castor.

Jupiter takes a passage behind the Sun, conjunct on the 26th.

Saturn finishes a long retrograde period on the 2nd and is at quadrature (90 degrees from Sun) on the 21st. Saturn is now strictly an “evening star” as it sets before midnight and appears in the evening beyond culmination.

Pluto: the latest astronomical centerfold, and an intriguing one it is. The space-camera is traveling at truly meteoric speed. Consider: my 33-yr-old car has traveled about 400,000 miles, or just over 2 light-seconds (“to the Moon” – and nearly back); Pluto (near the Teapot) is about 5½ light-hours away, or 9,900 times that distance.

 Star Calendar Days:

1      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:52/20:13 EDT (14h21m daylight)

          Cross-quarter “Lammas”, halfway to Fall equinox

          Perigee 22 ½ hours post-Full, Spring tides

2      Saturn is stationary to stars, begins direct motion

6-7     Mercury tangles with Jupiter and Regulus in evening twilight, sets before 8PM

8-9     Moon passes Aldebaran in east at 4AM

12      Moon rises to right of Mars, ENE at 4AM

12-15 Perseid meteors, lie down with feet facing NE for good views all night

15      Venus crosses nearside of Sun, inferior conjunction

16      Mercury to right of Moon, low west at 7:30PM

19      Moon above Spica, WSW at 8:PM

21      Saturn is 90 degrees from Sun, eastern quadrature

22      Moon near Saturn, SW in evening

23      Moon above Antares, SW in evening

26      Jupiter crosses behind Sun

25-26 Moon passes above Pluto, conjunct at midnight

29      Full Grain Moon 2:35PM

29-10 Venus greets Mars ‘fore dawn, a treat in the east at 4:30AM

30      Perigee 21 hours post-Full, more Spring tides

31      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 6:22/19:30 EDT (13h08m daylight)

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About pbdavis

Paul Davis is a former resident of the Threefold Community. He has been a teacher of Celestial Navigation, a Planetarium lecturer, and offered evening Astronomy classes at Sunbridge some years ago. He is now living in New Hampshire.