Evening Planets:

Mercury makes its worst evening showing for the year in the West this month. The planet is extremely low in the bright Dusk twilight and will be difficult to see. The planet should become visible around 20 August. Even when the planet reaches its highest altitude for this evening showing on 27 August; it will still be low in the Western bright twilight. The planet sets about 1 hour after Sunset. It will be visible with difficulty in the West for the rest of the month.

Saturn puts on its best showing of the year this month. The planet reaches its brightest for the year on 14 August. The planet will rise in the SE during evening twilight. Saturn will hold onto its brightness for the rest of the month. The planet will be in the eastern side of the constellation of Capricornus.

Jupiter rises about 1.5 hours after Saturn in the East. As the month progresses, Jupiter is slowly rising a bit earlier each evening. The planet is slowly getting itself into position for a fine evening showing next month. Now, Saturn and Jupiter both grace the evening sky for the rest of the year. The evening sky is now no longer void of bright planets.

Morning Planets:

Mars rises in the NE just after Midnight. The planet is slowly moving into the Constellation of Taurus where it will remain for the rest of the year. The planet manages to gain a bit of brightness as the month progresses.

Venus rises in the ENE about 2 hours before the Sun rises. Each morning, it rises a bit later and is losing a tiny bit of altitude. By the end of the month, Venus is barely rising about 1 hour before Sunrise. Despite its low altitude; it still can be seen in the bright Dawn twilight. Next month there will be some big changes for Venus.

3 Aug Thick Crescent Moon above bright star Spica, Dawn

6 Aug Moon upper right of bright star Antares, Dusk

11-12 Aug Full Moon left of Saturn, all night long

12-13 Aug Perseids Meteor Shower

15 Aug Waning Gibbous Moon lower left of Jupiter, Dawn

19 Aug Last Quarter Moon between Pleiades Star Cluster and Mars, Dawn

23 Aug  Crescent Moon forms a triangle with bright stars Castor and Pollux, Dawn

30 Aug Waxing Crescent Moon upper right of bright star Spica, Dusk

Perseids Meteor Shower:

The Perseids Meteor Shower peaks on the night of 12-13 August. Unfortunately, that is one day past Full Moon. Thus, the light and glare from the just past Full Moon will wash out and ruin the Perseids Meteor Shower.

Gary T. Nowak

Vermont Astronomical Society