SKY WATCH week Wednesday 24 August
Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are rather close to the Sun and visible in the evening glow. Venus is best seen from 8.20 pm to 8.40 pm in the constellation Virgo. Jupiter is best seen from 8.30 pm to 8.55 pm in the constellation Virgo. Mars and Saturn are a little better positioned. Still low on the horizon though. Mars is best seen from 8.30 pm to 10.55 pm in the constellation Ophiuchus. Saturn is best seen from 8.40 pm to 11.25 pm in the same constellation.
Try to spot the small planet Uranus. You will need a small telescope or a good and steady binocular. Uranus is best seen from 11.20 pm to 4.20 am in the constellation Pisces. The nights are getting longer and best time for Deep Sky observing is from 10 pm to 3.30 am. Look for the Gegenschein just after midnight. It is a faint glowing patch of sky relatively good for observation 27° above the Southern horizon and in the constellation Aquarius.
Wednesday 24 August
The red planet Mars is in conjunction with Saturn. They are less than 5° separated. Have a look in the evening skies. Also the star Antares is nearby and only 2° away.
Iridium flares are like satellites or the International Space Station (ISS), but when they move as a dot through the sky, they sudden lit up and appear as a flare in the sky. Worth a watch. A very bright flare is visible at 3.28 am in the East South East at altitude of 26° in the constellation Taurus.
It is Last Quarter Moon at 4.40 am. This is the 2nd biggest Last Quarter Moon of the year. The former larger Last Quarter Moon was on 26 July 2016. The next larger Last Quarter Moon will be on 13 September 2017.
Thursday 25 August
Mars is in conjunction with Saturn at 6.50 pm. They are 4° separated. Look later when it is dark.
At 9.35 pm a rather bright Iridium flare appears in the East North East at an altitude of 55° in the constellation Lacerta.
The Moon is in maximum libration North at 10.26 pm. The Lunar North Pole and Mare Frigoris are tipped into the Earth's view. This is the 2nd Northernmost total libration of the year. The former more Northern total libration was on 15 March 2016. The next more Northern total libration will be on 15 August 2017.
Nearly a month ago, on 29 July, the Moon passed through the Hyades open cluster and appeared close to the bright star Aldebaran. If you missed it, you have another opportunity to see the Moon nearby this morning. Aldebaran, an orange giant star, is joined by two more giants in the pre-dawn sky: Betelgeuse in Orion and Capella in Auriga. Betelgeuse, like Aldebaran, has an orange tint while Capella has a yellow white light. Have a look just after midnight. At 0.35 am the Moon is about 8 lunar diameters from Aldebaran. Look very low on the horizon. The 41% illuminated Moon occults Aldebaran for the Western Pacific at 5.44 pm.
At 3.22 am another rather bright Iridium flare appears in the East South East at altitude of 26° in the constellation Taurus.
Friday 26 August
A bright Iridium flare is visible at 9.29 pm in the East North East at an altitude of 56° in the constellation Lacerta.
Although the Sun is set, for Solar observers, at 10.11 pm the Carrington Solar Rotation begins its rotation number 2181.
Another rather bright flare is visible at 10.54 pm in the North East at an altitude of 22° in the constellation Perseus.
The Earthshine is visible on the Moon at 4.40 am.
You will need to watch in the early evening, after Sunset, but at 5.58 am Mercury is in conjunction with Venus and they are 5° separated.
Saturday 27 August
Venus is passing only 4’ from Jupiter at 11 pm. This is the closest conjunction of two naked eye planets for 2016. Have a look after Sunset!
The Moon is in maximum declination North at 12.18 pm. This is the lowest Northernmost Moon position of the next 10 years. The former lower Northern Northernmost Moon position was on 9 May 2016. The next lower Northern Northernmost Moon position will be on 15 September 2033. A time to wait ...
At 10.48 pm an Iridium flare appears in the North East at an altitude of 23° in the constellation Perseus.
Earthshine is visible on the Moon at about 4.40 am.
Sunday 28 August
The constellation Gemini, the Twins, is now easily visible in the early morning sky before the dawn with Cancer the Crab hot on their heels. The waning crescent Moon appears nearby while Canis Minor, the Smaller Dog, rises over the Eastern horizon. Procyon is the brightest star in that constellation while Castor and Pollux mark the heads of the celestial twins.
Look out for a double very bright Iridium flare at 7.41 pm. Hard to spot because of the Sun, but look towards the South at an altitude of 74° in the constellation Hercules.
Mercury is now close to Venus at 9.18 pm. They are only 5° separated.
Another flare appears at 3.13 am in the South East at an altitude of 28° in the constellation Taurus.
The Earthshine on the Moon can be seen at 4.40 am.
Monday 29 August
The Moon is in maximum libration East at 10.30 pm. Mare Crisium limb is tipped into our view.
After midnight, at 3.07 am an Iridium flare appears in the Soutj East at an altitude of 26° in the constellation Taurus.
The Lunar Crescent is visible at about 5.20 am and 52 hours before New Moon. The Moon is 5% illuminated and the Moon rises at 3.58 am, 136 minutes before the Sun.
Another, much brighter flare appears at 5.33 am in the North North East at an altitude of 25° in the constellation Ursa Major.
The constellation Cancer is now emerging into the early morning twilight but its stars will be difficult to spot against the brightening glow of the pre-dawn sky. The waxing crescent Moon is passing through and Earthshine should be easily seen on the darker portion of its surface at about 5.35 am.
Tuesday 30 August
A very bright Iridium flare appears at 10.40 pm in the North East at an altitude of 28° in the constellation Perseus. Early morning, at 5.28 am another Iridium flare appears in the North North East at an altitude of 23° in the constellation Ursa Major.
The Lunar Crescent visible is visible at 5.35 am, only 28 hours before New Moon. The Moon is now only 2% illuminated and rises at 5.07 am, 69 minutes before the Sun.
Wednesday 31 August
After midnight, the equation of time is zero at 0.32 am. The apparent solar time is now equal to the mean solar time.
At 5.22 am an Iridium flare is visible in the North North East at an altitude of 22° in the constellation Ursa Major. Iridium flares are like satellites or the International Space Station (ISS), but when they move as a dot through the sky, they sudden lit up and appear as a flare in the sky. Worth a watch.
This morning there is an annular solar eclipse. Not visible in Britain, but in the Southern hemisphere at the islands Madagascar and La Reunion. The eclipse begins at 7.13 am and ends at 1 pm. At 10.03 am it is New Moon.
Get in touch with me via www.patrickpoitevin.weebly.com if you need more information.