BACKYARD STARGAZER: Moon visits in August

By Francis Parnell

In August the Moon visits Jupiter once, Saturn twice,  There are also two Supermoons this month; the second being a “Blue” Moon!

On the 1st, watch the Full Sturgeon Super Moon rising; it’s the second closest full Moon this year at 222,020 miles away.

45 minutes before sunrise on the 3rd, look south-southwest to view the waning gibbous Moon 3 degrees lower left of Saturn.

One hour before sunrise on the 8th, Jupiter is less than 2 degrees lower right of the last quarter Moon.  The pair won’t be this close again until October 2026.

The annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks in the early morning hours of the 13th.  Under dark skies an observer may see 90 meteors per hour, but with our light polluted skies you might see 25 to 40 per hour.  Face northeast about 11 p.m. on the 12th, scan the sky in all directions, and good luck!

On the 24th after sunset, face south-southwest to observe the first-quarter Moon very close to the red supergiant Antares in Scorpius.

About an hour after sunset on the 30th, don’t miss the “Blue” Supermoon rising in the east-southeast because it’s the closest full Moon this year at only 221,939 miles away!  Saturn is 5 degrees upper right of the Moon.  Binoculars will give a nice view.

FAST FACT:  The latest research shows that our home, the MIlky Way Galaxy, is larger than we thought.  The diameter of the brightest part, the spiral arms, is about 150,000 light-years.  Beyond the spiral arms the stars thin out and, along with the dark matter halo, the diameter reaches 2-million light-years – almost halfway to the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5-million light-years away! “Keep looking up!”

Author: Stephan Drew

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