Celestial Seasonings – February 2020

By Heather Durham | January 31, 2020

Hi everybody and welcome to the February 2020 issue of Celestial Seasonings!

This month brings with it another visit from our Beehive Cluster, M44, as well as an increasing amount of daylight. Additionally, we are having an extra day this month for 2020 is a leap year. Now let’s see what the skies will provide for our viewing pleasure.


February 1: The first quarter of the Moon will appear.

February 8: The Open Beehive Cluster commonly referred to as M44 will closely approach the Moon. M44 is from the Constellation Cancer. The Moon will be 15 days old on this date. The a-Centaurid meteor shower coming from the Centaurus Constellation will occur. As part of the Milky Way, the globe-shaped cluster, NGC2808 from the Constellation Carina will be displayed (Wikipedia, 2019).

February 9: The Moon will be full.

February 10: Mercury will be far away from the Sun. This is also referred to as Mercury being at it’s greatest elongation East (in-the-sky.org,2019). The Moon will be at it’s farthest point from the Sun and the Moon will travel by it’s closest point to Earth.

February 12: Mercury has an 88-day orbit around the Sun and will be at it’s closest position near the Sun. As well, Mercury will be at it’s highest point in the sky.

February 15: This date will bring the last quarter of the Moon.

February 18: The open cluster from the Constellation Sagittarius, NGC6530, will closely approach Mars. The Moon and Mars will rise closely together in the same direction.

February 19: The Moon and Jupiter will rise up in the same direction. The Moon and Jupiter will rise closely to one another. Bode’s Galaxy or NGC3031 from Ursa Major will be great for observation.

February 20: The Moon and Saturn will rise in the same direction with the two of them passing close to each other.

February 21: The Moon will orbit towards it’s closest place to the Sun. NGC3114 also known as a sparse open star cluster from the Constellation Carina should be visible with binoculars.

February 23: This date will bring us a new moon.

February 25: Mercury will pass closely by the Sun.

February 26: The Moon will appear somewhat smaller as it orbits towards it’s farthest point from Earth.

February 27: The Moon and Venus will rise in the same direction.

February 28: M22, also known as NGC6656, an elliptical globe-shaped cluster from the Constellation Sagittarius and Mars will be making a close approach of one another (Wikipedia, 2019).

February 29: This year is a leap year, so there is a February 29. In Irish and English tradition, women were allowed on this day to initiate dances and propose marriage. If refused, the bachelor had to pay a forfeit.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – January 2020; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – March 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2020). Mercury. Retrieved from  https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20200210_11_101

Wikipedia. (2019, December 9). Bachelor’s Day (Tradition). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor%27s_Day_(tradition)

Wikipedia. (2019, December). Beehive Cluster. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster

Wikipedia. (2019, October). Messier 22. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_22

Celestial Seasonings – January 2020

By Heather Durham | December 31, 2019

Happy New Year and new decade everyone! This month comes with an eclipse of the Moon as well as from M44, our Beehive Cluster. The darkest days are over now providing us with ever increasing daylight until June.

Let’s hope that our new decade is full of increasing optimism and joy! Now let’s explore what the Cosmos has in store for us this the first month of the new decade!


January 1: The Moon is at its farthest point from the Earth.

January 2: M41, the open cluster from Canis Major will be at its highest point in the sky.

The first quarter of the moon will occur as well.

January 4: Quadrantid meteor shower from the Constellation Boötes will be on display.

January 5: Earth will be at its closest point to the Sun.

January 10: The planet Mercury will travel close to the Sun.

A penumbral eclipse of the Moon will occur on this date meaning that the Moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow. Not only will the Moon be full tonight, but it will also travel to its farthest place from the Sun.

January 11: The Moon and the Beehive open cluster from the Constellation Cancer will approach one another. (Wikipedia, 2019).

January 13: Saturn will move closely by the Sun. Also, Pluto will move closely by the Sun. The Moon will pass closely by the Earth making it appear slightly larger than usual. As a minor planet designation, 1 Ceres will move very close to the Sun.  Also of note, 1 Ceres passes back and forth between Mars and Jupiter as the biggest object in the main asteroid belt.

January 15: On this date, another minor planet designation, Asteroid 511 Davida will be visible.  This is from the Constellation Gemini. From Puppis, the open star cluster otherwise referred to as M47 or NGC 2422 will be available for viewing. NGC 2403 which is also referred to as Caldwell 7 comes from the Constellation Camelopardalis is an intermediate spiral galaxy available in the night sky. (Wikipedia,2019)

January 17: This will be the date for the last quarter of the Moon. Once again from the Puppis Constellation, comes open star cluster NGC 2451.

January 19: Today will bring us y-Ursae minorid meteor shower from the Constellation Ursa Minor.

January 20: The Moon and Mars will both rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)) and they will come to be in close proximity to one another.

January 21: From within the Constellation Cancer, comes Asteroid 5 Astraea.

January 22: The Moon and Jupiter will be both close together as well as rising to the right (in a right ascension (see References)).

January 23: The Moon will go to its closest point to the Sun.

January 24: The Moon will be new today.

January 27: Venus and Neptune will be close and also rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)).

January 28: The Moon and Venus will rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)). The Moon, Venus and Neptune will be in close proximity to one another.

January 29: The Moon will appear smaller for it is far away from the Earth.

January 31: Once again this month, we will be presented again with M44 or the Beehive Cluster. An open star cluster from the Constellation Vela, also known as Caldwell 85 may be visible with binoculars.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – December 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – February 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2019). Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/newscast.php?month=1&year=2020&maxdiff=7#datesel

Wikipedia. (2019, December 19). Beehive Cluster. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster

Wikipedia. (2019, December 7). Boötes. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boötes

Wikipedia. (2019, December 18). Canis Major. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canis_Major

Wikipedia. (2019, December 27). IC 2391. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IC_2391

Wikipedia (2019, October 16). Penumbral Eclipse. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse#Penumbral_eclipse

Wikipedia. (2019, December 15). Right Ascension. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_ascension

 

Celestial Seasonings – December 2019

By Heather Durham | December 5, 2019

Due to holidays and snowstorms, we join the celestial show already in progress.


December 2. The Pheonicid meteor shower will originate from the Constellation Phoenix.

December 4. The first quarter phase of the Moon should shine brightly in the evening sky. The Moon is at its apogee (its greatest distance from the Earth), which will result in it appearing smaller than usual.

December 6. The Cassiopeia meteor shower from Andromeda should be visible.

December 7. The Puppid-Velid meteor shower from Veda will appear in the night sky.

December 9. The Monocerotid meteor shower from Monoceros should be visible.

December 10. The Moon will be at its farthest distance from the Sun. This is commonly referred to as the Moon at aphelion.  Also this evening, Saturn and Venus will both rise at a right ascension,

December 11. Saturn and Venus will be passing one another.

December 12. The Moon will be full on this date. This Moon is the third full autumn Moon of 2019, known as the Oak Moon (in-the-sky.org, 2019). The Hydrid meteor shower from the Constellation Hydra presents itself. An object in space orbiting the Milky Way, known as the Large Magellanic Cloud or LMC will present itself today (Wikipedia, 2019).

December 13. Venus and Pluto will be rising otherwise known as conjunction.

December 14. The Geminid meteor shower from the Constellation Gemini is upon us this date.

December 15. From the Constellation Cancer, the Beehive Cluster will be making a close approach to the Moon. An open cluster from Orion will be visible, also known as NGC 1981.

December 16. From the Constellation Leo comes the Comae Berenicid meteor shower.

December 18. The Moon will be at perigee meaning at its closest point to the Earth. This Moon should appear larger than usual. This date also brings us to the last quarter of the Moon.

December 20. December Leonid Minorid meteor shower from the Constellation Leo Minor.

December 21. December Solstice and shortest day of the year.

December 22. Both the Moon and Mars will ascend a.k.a be in conjunction. As well, they both will be moving close together.

December 23. Ursid meteor shower from the Constellation Ursa Minor.

December 26. There will be a new Moon. The Moon will also be closest to the Sun.

December 27. The Moon and Saturn will ascend. Jupiter will move very close to the Sun.

December 28. From the Constellation Monoceros comes an open star cluster generally referred to as NGC 2232. The Moon and Venus will rise and will be approaching one another.

December 29. Once again coming from the Constellation Monoceros comes an open star cluster commonly referred to as NGC 2244.

December 30. Mercury will be located at its greatest distance from the Sun, otherwise referred to as aphelion.

We wish you a very Happy New Year! My resolution will be to issue this report in a more punctual manner. But you know how it is with New Year’s resolutions.


Previous in sequence Celestial Seasonings – November 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – January 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2019). Retrieved from  in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?month=12&year=2019&maxdiff=7#datesel

spacetourismguide.com.  (2019, November). What to See in the Night Sky in 2019.  Retrieved from spacetourismguide.com/night-sky-2019/

Wikipedia. (2006, October 29). Large Magellanic Cloud. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Magellanic_Cloud

Wikipedia. (2017, November 17). NGC 1981. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/NGC_1981

Wikipedia, (2007, April 20). NGC 2244. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/NGC_2244

Celestial Seasonings – November 2019

By Heather Durham | October 30, 2019

Welcome to the November 2019 edition of Celestial Seasonings! This month of sky watching is not quite as prolific as last month. However we do have many exciting events to view and ponder including the Leonids, Mercury passing over the face of the sun as well as the second moon of autumn – the Beaver Moon – which will be full on the 12th. Lets get started……

November 2

A conjunction occurs when two planets look as if they are close to one another. This date brings the Moon and Saturn as well as the Moon and Pluto into conjunction.

November 4

Taurid is an annual meteor shower coming from the comet Encke. As well, Taurid is a dwarf shower that is part of the Taurus Constellation. You might hear them referred to as Halloween Fireballs because it is autumn. Rather than being as small as dust grains, they larger like small stones or pebbles. For this reason, they can be as bright as the Moon.

Today also marks the First Quarter of the Moon.

November 11

Mercury will be at inferior solar conjunction which also means that it is passing, more or less, between the Sun and Earth. This is also known as the Transit of Mercury, meaning it passes over the Sun, blocking out a small space of the solar disk (Wikipedia, 2019)

November 12

Asteroid 4 Vesta. This type of name describes a name-number combination given to a minor planet designation.

Not only is it one of the largest designations in the asteroid belt, it is also known as the brightest asteroid visible from Earth.

The full Beaver Moon will be before us tonight.

November 16

Mercury will be at Perihelion, meaning its closest point from the sun. It’s interesting to note that the orbit of Mercury is elliptical rather than circular as others are.

November 18

On this date, we are having a Leonid Meteor Shower which tends to be quite prolific. This shower comes from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle. (in-the-sky.org, 2019)

November 19

This date brings us the Last Quarter of the Moon.

November 21

Alpha-Monocerotid. This is a reliable minor meteor shower. This one should not be confused with the one occurring next month (Wikipedia,2019).

November 24

Today the Moon and Mars appear to be close together (in conjunction).

Venus and Jupiter will be in close proximity of each other (in conjunction).

November 26

Today brings us a New Moon.

November 28

Orionid, an annual as well as prolific shower from Haley’s comet comes from the constellation Orion.

Ceres is the largest object from the main asteroid belt, it lies between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

The Moon will be at Perihelion (its closest to the Sun).

November 29

The Moon and Saturn will look as though they are in close proximity to one another (in conjunction).

November 30

Venus and Ceres will appear to be close together (in conjunction).


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – October 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – December 2019


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2019). Leonids. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20191118_10_100

spacetourismguide.com. (2019, October). What to See in the Night Sky in 2019. Retrieved from spacetourismguide.com/night-sky-2019/

space.com. (2019, October). Stargazing and Night Sky Watching. Retrieved from www.space.com/skywatching/2

timeanddate.com. (2019, October). Sights to See. Retrieved from www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/sights-to-see.html

Wikipedia. (2014, July 30). Alpha Monocerotids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Monocerotids

Wikipedia. (2019, September 12). Apsis. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsis

Wikipedia. (2019, October 27). Asteroid 4 Vesta. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4_Vesta

Wikipedia. (2019, October 26). Ceres (Dwarf Planet). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres _(Dwarf_Planet)

Wikipedia. (2019, September 17). Conjunction (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)

Wikipedia. (2019, September 30). Fornax. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fornax

Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Leonids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids

Wikipedia. (2019, October 23). Mercury (Planet). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(planet)

Wikipedia. (2019, October 9). Meteor Shower. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_shower

Wikipedia. (2019, September 1). Minor Planet Designation. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_planet_designation

Wikipedia. (2019, June 9). Opposition (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_(astronomy)

Wikipedia. (2019, September 30). Orionids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids

Wikipedia. (2019, October 16). Pleiades. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades

Wikipedia. (2019, September 28). Taurids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurids

Wikipedia. (2019, October 27). Transit of Mercury. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Mercury

Celestial Seasonings – October 2019

By Heather Durham | September 30, 2019

This month offers an almost nightly schedule of celestial events, the majority of which are viewable with the naked eye. There is quite a plethora to view. As well, we will enjoy the full Hunter’s Moon (the first Moon after the Harvest Moon). Happy birthday to NASA!

Meteor showers take their names from the constellation or comet in the portion of the sky in which they appear. For instance, the Draconids appear near the constellation Draco, the Perseids appear near the constellation Perseus, the Taurids appear near the constellation Taurus, etc.


October 1

Happy birthday NASA…..which turns 61 today!

The Moon is at its closest to the Sun today as well (Space.com, 2019; Seasky.org, 2019).

October 2

There will be a Change of Command ceremony at the International Space Station. Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency will replace Russian Cosmonaut Alexsey Ovchinin.

M31 (the Andromeda galaxy) may be viewed with binoculars. (It is also known as NGC 224).

October 3

There will be conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter, when the waxing crescent Moon will pass by less than 2 degrees to the north of Jupiter in the evening sky.

The planet Mercury, will be at its furthest point from the sun. Around 18:39 EDT, from Milton, they both should be visible.

October 5

There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Saturn, during which time the Moon will pass less than a degree to the south of Saturn. The two of them may be visible in the evening sky.

NGC 300, which is a spiral galaxy in the Sculptor constellation, is located where it can be observed above our southern horizon.

October 6

Today, the October Camelopardalid meteor shower reaches its peak.

October 8

Draconids Meteor Shower. This minor shower that produces about 10 meteors per hour will peak this year on October 8. Viewing will be the best in the evening or most likely around midnight as it follows the setting of the first quarter Moon which will set by then. These meteors will appear anywhere in the sky. From Milton, the shower will display directly above the horizon and will be active throughout the night.

October 9

A bright Mercury will be well placed in the evening sky.

 October 10

The Moon reaches its furthest place from the Sun.

The peak of the Southern Taurid meteor shower occurs on this date. From Milton, however, it won’t be visible before 18:56 pm EDT each night. Look towards the eastern horizon.

October 15

M33 from the Triangulum Galaxy is viewable. (It is also known as NGC 598).

October 19

Mercury will be shining bright.

October 20

Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. This planet reaches elongation of 24.6 degrees from the sun and can be viewed low in the western sky just after sunset (Seasky.org, 2019).

October 21-22

Orionids Meteor Shower. This shower, an average one, can display up to 20 meteors per hour when at its peak. These dust grains from Halley’s comet will peak on the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The Orionids tend to be bright even though the second quarter Moon will block some of the ones furthest away. View from a dark sky just after midnight. The best and brightest displays will occur near 05:00 AM EDT..

October 24

The peak of the Leonids meteor shower occurs on this date. The best display is said to be just before dawn.

October 26

There will be a conjunction of Mars and the Moon.

The western half of NGC 869 in the constellation Perseus may be viewable around midnight in or near Milton.

October 27

Uranus at Opposition. At times between 19:35 and 5:16, it should become visible from Milton.

October 29

There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Mercury, as well as one of the Moon and Venus.

The face of this blue-green planet will be fully lit by the sun. It should be visible all night long but is best viewed by telescope.

October 31

There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. Look to see the Moon go by approximately one degree north of Jupiter in the evening sky.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – September 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – November 2019


References:

In-the-sky.org. (2019, September). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from  https://in-the-sky.org/search.php

Seasky.org. (2019, September). Astronomy Reference Guide. Retrieved from http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy.html

Space.com. (2019, September). Space Launch Calendar 2019: Sky Events, Missions & More. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/32286-space-calendar.html

Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Alexsey Ovchinin. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Ovchinin

Wikipedia. (2019, September 25). Andromeda Galaxy. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy

Wikipedia. (2019, September 17). Conjunction (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)

Wikipedia. (2019, September 19).Draconids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draconids

Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Leonids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids

Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Luca Parmitano. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luca_Parmitano

Wikipedia. (2019, September 21). Messier Object. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_object

Wikipedia. (2019, May 28). New General Catalogue. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_General_Catalogue

Wikipedia. (2019, August 14). NGC 300. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_300

Wikipedia. (2018, August 16). NGC 869. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_869

Wikipedia. (2019, June 9). Opposition (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_(astronomy)

Wikipedia. (2019,September 30). Orionids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids

Wikipeida. (2019, September 24). Perseids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

Wikipedia. (2019, September 26). Sculptor (Constellation). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculptor_(constellation)

Wikipedia. (2019, September 28). Taurids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurids

Wikipedia. (2019, September 23). Triangulum Galaxy. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum_Galaxy

Celestial Seasonings – September 2019

By Heather Durham | August 30, 2019

We will have the pleasure to see this month in our night sky, weather permitting, several wonderful celestial events. These include the usual sweep of stars and constellations, but also glimpses of galaxies, planets, comets, changes of moon phase, and the Fall equinox. Enjoy.

September 3

Mercury at superior solar conjunction

This elusive planet will pass very closely to the sun. It is often lost in the suns glare. This marks the end of Mercury‘s apparition in the morning sky and its transition to becoming an evening object over the next few weeks. It will also pass apogee at a distance of 1.37 AU from Earth making it appear very small and distant. (in-the-sky.org, 2019).

September 4

C2018 W2 (Africano) at perihelion

This comet will make its closest approach to the sun and might be visible from Rochester in the morning sky at 20:59 when it rises 21 degrees above the northeastern horizon. While this is not expected to be seen with the naked eye, it might be visible with bird-watching binoculars.

September 8

Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn

The Moon will be 11 days old when the moon and Saturn share the same right ascension. The two objects or make a close approach around the same time. From Rochester, they will be visible in the evening sky at about 8:09 PM. They will continue to be observable until around 2am when they sink below 8° above your southwestern sky.

Close approach of the Moon and Pluto

When the moon is 10 days old the pair can be seen in the evening sky at around 7:25 pm. They should be visible with binoculars.

September 23

September equinox

No matter where you live on Earth, the sun will rise almost due east and set almost due west on this, the Equinox of this coming season. The timing of this event will be 3:36 EDT. The sun has a right ascension of approximately equal to 12 hours.

September is a month for new beginnings. The days will be shorter and the nights longer until the December Solstice.

In Rochester, the astronomical twilight begins at 4:57 am, the sunrise at 6:32 am, then the astronomical twilight ends at 8:14 pm. Sunrise is at 6:32 am, sunset at 6:39 pm and the time at which the sun is at its highest point in the sky is at 12:36 pm.

September 24

Close approach of the Moon and M44

When the moon is 25 days old, the Moon and the beehive cluster, M44 will make a close approach of each other. The pair will be visible and the dawn sky rising at 1:49 AM and reaching an altitude of 45° above the eastern horizon before disappearing from view as dawn breaks. The pair may be visible using a pair of binoculars.

Moon Phases, September 2019, Rochester, New Hampshire

Moon Phase – Date – Time of Day

  • First Quarter – September 5 – 11:11 PM
  • Full Moon. – September 14 – 12:35 AM
  • Last Quarter – September 21 – 10.43 PM
  • New Moon – September 28 – 2:27 PM

Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – August 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – October 2019


References:

Dominic Ford, Editor. (August 11, 2019). From the Inner Planets Feed. Retrieved from
in-the-sky.org/news

Equinox NH 2019 Celebration. (August 2019). Equinox New Hampshire. Retrieved from www.equinoxnh.com

Skymaps.com Monthly Report, (August 2019). Monthly Map. Retrieved from www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

timeanddate.com. (August 2019). September Equinox. Retrieved from www.timeanddate.com/calendar/september-equinox.html

Wikipedia. (August 2019). Conjunctions. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)

Wikipedia. (August 2019). M44. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster

Wikipedia. (August, 2019). September 2019 Equinox. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_equinox

 

Celestial Seasonings – August 2019

By Heather Durham | July 31, 2019

Fiftieth Anniversary of Apollo 11 – Just Past

For the first time in human history, man landed on the moon on Sunday, July 20, 1969. Michael Collins remained in moon orbit with the command module, while two others descended to the surface in the lunar module. Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin served as the lunar module pilot of Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 am on July 16, 1969.

It took 2 years to locate the appropriate location for landing. Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the lunar surface, followed 19 minutes later by Aldrin.

These men located and brought back to Earth, 47.5 pounds of lunar material. The astronauts returned on July 24, 1969, after spending 8 days in space.

There were and are many celebrations for this 50th anniversary. This past January, the U.S. Mint released a 50th anniversary coin.

August 1 – New Moon

The new moon begins a two-week waxing (or increasing) phase that culminates in the full moon. Once visible, this would be a superb time to view other celestial events because the waxing crescent is visible in the evening sky.

August 8 – Venus at Perihelion

During which Venus is at its closest approach to the sun, a distance is 107,477,000 km. (66,783,111 miles).

August 9 – Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation

Mercury reaches elongation at 18.3 degrees from the sun. It might be viewed at dawn depending upon the weather conditions at that time.

August 12, 13 – Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid Meteor showers come from a debris stream that surrounds the 133-year orbit of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Beginning in 1865, a young filament from the stream gives a mini peak display before the maximum shower occurred. At peak, meteor rates may reach 60 or more per hour.

These particles slam into Earth’s atmosphere so fast that it doesn’t take a large particle to put on quite a fantastic show. Actually the meteors are no bigger than a grain of sand or a pea. The show is produced by the kinetic energy that changes to heat caused by friction in the upper atmosphere,

Although these may not be that prolific this August due to the full moon, there should be 10-15 meteors per hour … a substantially lesser amount that in other years like 2016.

This month’s shower should be at its strongest right after the comet passes along the portion of its orbit that meets the Earth’s orbit as well as after it passes near the sun.

August 14 – Venus at Superior Solar Conjunction

While not visible with the Sun in the sky, Venus may be seen passing through the evening sky.

August 15 – Full Moon

August 30 – New Moon

Having two new moons in the same calendar month happens only once in every two to three years. (New moons are not lit, so there is nothing lunar to see).


Next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – September 2019


References:

Lewin, Sarah. (2019, January 8). Perseid Meteor Shower 2019: When, Where & How to See It. Retrieved from www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html

Powell, Martin J. (2019). Mercury. Retrieved from www.nakedeyeplanets.com

Sky & Telescope. (2019). Meteor Showers. Retrieved from www.skyandtelescope.com

Wikipedia. (2019, July 30). Apollo 11. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11

Wikipedia. (2019, July 27). Moon. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon

Wikipedia. (2019, March 11). Perseids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids