• Mel Hulbert

What’s in the Sky - August 2021

Moon Phase:

New Moon 8th

First Quarter 16th

Full Moon 22nd

Last Quarter 30th


Planets:

Evening Sky

Mercury is low in the western sky just after sunset from the middle of the month. It starts the month in Leo before moving to join Venus in Virgo at month’s end.

Venus: is in the western sky after sunset. During the second week of the month, the brilliantly shining planet moves from the constellation Leo into Virgo.

Mars is low in the western sky after sunset, in the constellation Leo. By month’s end Mars will no longer be visible in the western sky as it will rise at set too close to the Sun to be safely visible for observers.

Jupiter is low in the eastern sky, starting the month in the constellation Aquarius before moving into Capricornus in the third week.

Saturn is in the eastern sky in the constellation Capricornus.

Morning Sky

Saturn is in the western morning sky.

Jupiter is high in the western morning sky.


Worth a Look:

2nd: Saturn is at opposition. Opposition occurs when a celestial body (planets, Moon) is opposite the Sun in the sky as seen from Earth. So, Saturn will be at its brightest for the year.

10th: The two-day old waxing crescent Moon is beside the red planet, Mars. With the crescent Moon, the pair will be a good target for widefield photographers.

11th: The narrow waxing crescent Moon is below and to the north (right) of the brilliantly shining planet Venus. The crescent Moon in close proximity to Venus provides another good opportunity for widefield photographers. 19th: Mercury and Mars are separated by 0.2 degrees. A clear view to the western horizon and waiting a little while after sunset to allow the sky to darken a little will make it easier to see the two planets.

20th: Jupiter is at opposition. The waxing gibbous Moon is directly above and slightly to the south (right) of the ringed planet Saturn.

21th: The waxing gibbous Moon between the two gas giants of our Solar System, Jupiter and Saturn. The Moon is below and slightly to the south (right) of Saturn and is almost directly above and also slightly to the south (right) of Jupiter.

22nd: The full Moon is slightly below and to the south (right) of Jupiter.


You can download a star map for August here.

Clear Skies!



References:

Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2021 Australia, Quasar Publishing.

Lomb, N. (2020). 2021 Australasian sky guide. Ultimo, NSW: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Media.