What's Up in The Sky Now
August 2019 (Notes by DMAS member Dave Lynch)
After what seems a very long time with few or no planets seen in the night sky they are returning once again. Unfortunately, the brighter "inner" planets have gone bye-bye for a while but the larger outer planets are back.
MERCURY is back in the early morning sky and well situated for a look-see, rising almost an hour before the Sun. By the third week of the month Mercury will be over twenty degrees above the horizon before sunrise.
VENUS is too close to the Sun this month and will be unavailable to us. Venus will finally return to the night sky by the middle of September. Until then Jupiter will remain the brightest planet in the sky.
EARTH is in its hot stage this month, and day and night time temperatures will make any observing sessions a little on the uncomfortable side. Now if Mother Nature will only cooperate with some clear skies, all will be well.
MARS is, like Venus, too close to the Sun this month. Unlike Venus, Mars will remain out of view to us well into October.
JUPITER is the king of the night skies all month. Well above the horizon at sunset, the giant planet loses only a little of its light output as it remains very close to Antares in Scorpius. Check out the Red Spot and notice how much it has shrunk since last year. The color is also dimming. As yet no one seems to have any good ideas why this is happening.
SATURN is back and it couldn't be better. The rings are tilted at almost maximum tilt and its brightness cannot be mistaken. Well above the trees at sunset, Saturn is trailing Jupiter and just east of Sagittarius. Finally, two great planets come into view this month.
URANUS rises very late this month and probably is a better early morning object than evening. Rising around here close to 10:00 pm, it will be well after midnight before it reaches clear air. However, the pale blue color of this gas planet will be unmistakable once you spot it.
NEPTUNE is trailing Uranus and won't clear the horizon until after midnight. If you want to see this planet this month I recommend waiting for a clear early morning.
New Moon -> August 01
First Quarter -> August 07
Full Moon -> August 15
Last Quarter -> August 2
2nd New Moon -> August 30
Other topics this month:
MOON LANDING: 50 YEARS AGO - JULY:
Did you get a chance to enjoy the abundant media coverage of the first landing of humans on the Moon? July 20, 1969 was the anniversary.