August 2006

Lunar Events

The New Moon occurs midweek on Wednesday, August 23rd.  This will make both weekends August 19th-20th and August 26th-27th as very good for deep sky viewing.

The Full Moon for August occurs on August 9th, and is known as the Sturgeon Moon. It is also known a Grain or Green Corn Moon.

August 16,2006 - Moon & M45
On the morning of August 16th, the Moon, at Last Quarter, will pass through the star cluster called Pleiades (M45)

On August 28th, the 4-day-old waxing crescent Moon will pass within 1° of Spica, in Virgo.

August 27,2006 - Moon & Spica
On the evening on August 27th, The moon can been seen setting withing 3° of Spica.

Mercury

Mercury is available in the morning for the first three weeks of August before disappearing into the glare of the Sun. 

The very best morning for viewing Mercury will be August 6th when Mercury will be at its Greatest Western Elongation about 19° 11′ away from the Sun. Mercury Elongation

Mercury starts out this month in the constellation Gemini (The Twins) until August 9th and will come about 2° 15′ from the planet Venus on August 10th. Mercury passed The Beehive Cluster (M44) on August 15th & 16th and passes the planet Saturn on August 20th & 21st.  Also on the 21st of August, Mercury will move into the constellation Leo (The Lion) where it will spend the rest of the month.

August 22, 2006 - Mecury, Saturn, Venus & M44
On August 22nd, there is a nice grouping of Mercury, Venus, Saturn and the Moon.

Venus

Venus can be observed all month in the morning before sunrise.  Venus starts out this month in the constellation Gemini (The Twins) until August 10th when it moves into the constellation Cancer (the Crab). On August 26th Venus will pass within 0° 4′ of Saturn around 5:00 pm PST. This will make August 26th and 27th great for viewing this conjunction. On August 27th, Venus will pass into the constellation Leo (The Lion) where it can be found for the rest of the month.


This Quicktime movie displays the positions of the morning planets as they move through the month of August. Each step in the movie is a sidereal day. The horizon would be level with the Sun.

Mars

Mars starts out this month in the constellation Leo (The Lion) and can be view for most of the month during the evening hours.

August 28, 2006 - Mars
On August 28th, Mars moves into the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) as it disappears into the glare of the Sun.

Jupiter

Jupiter can be found in the constellation Libra (The Balance) until December 2006. Jupiter is visible in August in the evening to mid-night hours.

August 1, 2006 - Jupiter & Moon
On August 1st, Jupiter sets within 6° of the Moon around Midnight.

On August 29th Jupiter sets within 6° 30′ of the moon around 10:00 pm.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Cancer (The Crab) until August 30th, when it will cross into the constellation Leo (The Lion).  Saturn will wander around inside the borders of Leo until September of 2009!

Saturn will appear from the Sun’s glare around mid-August in the morning hours before sunrise.  For the rest of the month, Saturn will be over taken by a series of celestial objects: August 20th & 21st Mercury passes within 1° of Saturn, August 22nd, a very old waning crescent Moon will pass within 2° of Saturn and on August 26th Venus will pass within 0° 4′ of Saturn!

August 26, 2006 - Venus & Saturn

Uranus

Uranus is in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until the year 2009. Uranus continues to drift in retrograde motion for the entire month of August and is observable all night, all month.  A near Full Moon will pass Uranus on August 10th.

Neptune

August 10, 2006 - Neptune at Opposition & Uranus
On August 10, 2006 Neptune will be at Opposition. (Shown here with Uranus.)

Neptune can be located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until the year 2010. Neptune is also in retrograde motion all month and is observable all month, all night.  The best time to try to observe Neptune is August 10th when Neptune is at Opposition.  Being at Opposition will place Neptune at an excellent observable point for the next couple of months.

On August 9th, Neptune will set within about 4° of the Moon.

Pluto

Pluto is found in the constellation Serpens Cauda (The Snake’s Tail) until September 2006, when it will end its long visit to Serpens Cauda and move into the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) on September 24thPluto continues in retrograde motion all month, until September 6th.

This Quicktime movie displays the positions of Pluto as it moves through the months of August and September. Each step in the movie is a sidereal day.

Pluto moves in retrograde motion (from left-to-right) until September 6th, 2006, when it returns to normal motion (right-to-left).

On September 24th, 2006 Pluto moves into the constellation Ophiuchus (the yellow border near the bottom of the frame).

Pluto is observable during the evening to mid-night hours all month setting around 3:00 am at the beginning of the month and around 1:00 am at the end of the month.

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