What’s in the Sky - August 2022
First Quarter 5th
Full Moon 12th
Last Quarter 19th
New Moon 27th
Mercury and Saturn are in the evening sky this month.
Mercury is in the western sky after sunset, starting the month in the constellation Leo before moving into Virgo around the 21st of the month. From mid-month Mercury is at its best for viewing during the evening.
Saturn is rising in the eastern sky in the constellation Capricornus. On the 15th, Saturn is at opposition (opposite the Sun in the sky as seen from Earth) and is at its brightest for the year.
Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible to the unaided eye in the morning sky this month, although Saturn is low in the west just before sunrise.
Venus is low in the north-eastern morning sky starting the month in the constellation Gemini before moving into Cancer around the 11th and on the 27th moving into Leo.
Mars is in the north-eastern morning sky, starting the month in the constellation Aries before moving into Taurus around the 10th. Mars and Uranus are 1.5 degrees apart from the first to the third of the month, though binoculars or a small telescope will be needed to see this distant world.
Jupiter is rising in the mid to late evening sky in the constellation Cetus during August. Best viewing of the giant of our Solar System is after midnight, in the early morning sky.
Worth a Look:
15th: The waning crescent Moon is one degree from Jupiter if viewed in eastern Australian states and two degrees in the western states. They will be a wonderful sight rising in the eastern sky about 9pm (AEST).
20th: In the northern sky, the waning crescent Moon is above and to the north (right) of the star cluster the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus and the red planet, Mars, is directly above the Pleiades. The trio would make an interesting image for widefield photographers though the Pleiades may be hard to see and image as the brightness of the Moon, just past last quarter, may overwhelm the cluster. Definitely worth a look with your eyes or binoculars.
26th: The waning crescent Moon is below and to the north (left) of Venus low in the northeastern sky. A clear view to the horizon will be needed to see both the Moon and Venus.
29th: Mercury is joined in the western sky by the waxing crescent Moon. Finding a clear view to the western horizon and waiting until the sky becomes a little darker (around 6:30pm AEST) will reward observers and imagers, providing a better view of the elusive Mercury and with the pair closer to the horizon, it should make a great opportunity for widefield imagers.
You can download a star map for August here.
Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2022 Australia, Quasar Publishing.
Lomb, N. (2021). 2022 Australasian sky guide. Ultimo, NSW: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Media.