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The August Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for August

The Full Sturgeon Moon The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. Courtesy Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

Full Moon August 7 2:11 pm EDT
Last Quarter Moon August 14 9:15 pm EDT
New Moon August 21 2:30 pm EDT
First Quarter Moon August 29 4:13 am EDT

The Planets Visibility for August



Evening Sky WNW

 Mercury midmonth is in the evening sky rising at 3:2 am in the constellation Cancer low in the west  at -0.5 magnitude with a diameter 0000'06" and Phase (%): 67.38.


Morning Sky E

Venus midmonth is at -4.1 magnitude with a diameter 0000'16" and Phase (%): 68.43. Venus is in Taurus. Venus rises at 3:02 am. Venus is highest in the sky just before dawn.


Mars is lost in the glare of the Sun

Mars is lost in the glare of the Sun until early August when Mars become visible low in the morning eastern sky just before dawn. To see which part of Mars surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.


Evening - Morning Sky W

Jupiter midmonth is at -2.0 magnitude with a diameter 0000'36" located in the constellation Virgo. Jupiter sets at 12:16 am.

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


Evening - Morning Sky E- W

Saturn midmonth is at +0.2 magnitude with a diameter 0000'18" located in the constellation Ophiuchus. Saturn sets at 3:47 am. Saturn's ring tilt is +26.7. Saturn is best viewed when highest in the sky around 11:00 pm.

See: Saturn's moons locations 


Morning Sky E

 Uranus midmonth is in the constellation Pisces at 5.8 magnitude with a diameter 0000'04" rising at 12:39 am. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a faint green-gray disk. 

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening - Morning SE Sky

Neptune midmonth is at magnitude 7.8 with a diameter 0000'.02" located in Aquarius. Neptune risesat10:51 pm.

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Dwarf Planets


Evening - Morning Sky

Pluto reaches opposition July 10. Pluto is closest to Earth this year as it will be. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 0000'.00" rising at 8:22 pm in the constellation Sagittarius in the east. Pluto will be highest in the sky at 1:12 am.



C/2015 V2 (Johnson) Magnitude 7.9Evening Object. Located in Virgo. See members section for location.

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


The Eta Aquariid meteors peak on the night of May 5-6. Conditions should be good once the waxing gibbous Moon sets before 4:00 am. This shower can produce 50 meteors per hour under dark, clear skies.


See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map