With the summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to grab a cozy chair and see what is to see in the sky above you. Here are just a few things you can look forward to in August 2023:
Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid Meteor Shower is a must see for the summer. This summer it will be from July 14th to August 24th but the best night to see is its peak on August 13th.
The cause of the shower is Earth traveling through a debris field, bits of ice and rock, left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. Last year was a bit of a wash out due to a full moon but luckily this year we will only have 10% of our moon lit up giving us a great chance to see around 100 meteors an hour. The shower will be visible after 11PM until dawn.
Supermoons: Two Supermoons in one month
This month will have two supermoons, one on August 1st and on August 31st. North American fishing tribes called August's full moon the sturgeon moon since those fish appeared in number during this month. It's also been called the green corn moon, the grain moon, and the red moon for the reddish hue it often takes on in the summer haze.The full Moon on August 30th is also considered a blue Moon—a term that has nothing to do with the actual color of the Moon. Rather, a blue Moon is the second full Moon in a given calendar month.
Image Credit: Matthias Schmitt
Saturn August is also a great time to see our ringed planet Saturn. It is currently visible around 11:30 pm MT and can be seen well through most telescopes. Saturn reaches opposition on August 27, meaning it will be at its brightest for 2023.
The Summer Triangle is a wonderful asterism to view this month. It is the connection of three bright stars in the eastern sky around 9pm MT.
Vega in the constellation of Lyra (The Harp)
Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus (The Swan)
Altair in the constellation of Aquila (The Eagle)
Upcoming Space Events:
2023 August 10 - Luna 25 - Launch of Russian lunar lander
2023 August 21 - Parker Solar Probe - NASA solar mission makes sixth Venus flyby
2023 August 23/24 - Chandrayaan 3 - ISRO (India) Lunar Lander and Rover scheduled to touch down on the Moon
2023 August 26 - Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) - Launch of JAXA lunar lander mission
Astronomical Dates and Times:
Full Moon: August 1st (Sturgeon Moon)
Last Quarter: August 8th
New Moon: August 16th
First Quarter: August 24th
Full Moon August 31st (Blue Moon)
Virgin, UT Mountain Daylight Time:
Astro Twilight End August 1st: 10:34pm
Astro Twilight End August 15th: 10:10pm
Astro Twilight End August 30th: 9:40pm