Today - SpaceWeather.com
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
This Month -
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Tour July's Sky by Eye and Ear
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Tour August's Sky by Eye and Ear
All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye (except for all partial stages of the solar eclipse). Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted. (Do NOT use binoculars, camera viewfinders or telescopes to view the Sun.) Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.
SkyandTelescope.com - Eclipses - How to Watch a Partial Solar Eclipse Safely
Looking at the Sun is harmful to your eyes at any time, partial eclipse or no. The danger that a partial solar eclipse poses is simply that it may prompt people to gaze at the Sun, something they wouldn't normally do. The result can be "eclipse blindness," a serious eye injury that can leave temporary or permanent blurred vision or blind spots at the center of your view. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to watch the show safely. ...Total Solar EclipseAugust 1SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - August 1st's Eastern Solar Eclipse
NASA links:NASA - Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01
(color map with general info and links),Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 Aug 01
(detailed map with precise technical info),Live Web Coverage of the 2008 Total Solar Eclipse
andAncient Eclipses in China
Some areas will be able to see all or part of the dark moon this month. Its silhouette will hide part of the Sun.● Dark MoonAugust 1
Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after. Has a stronger effect on tides producing higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.Four-Planet DanceAugust & SeptemberSkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - The Four-Planet Dance of 2008
(The article contains a a nice animation
.)) Thinnest Evening Crescent MoonAugust 2
Low in western sky shortly after sunset.Moonsighting.comMeteor Shower
WU Photo: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007For Better ViewingFind a Dark Location
A dark rural location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water could be a good alternative.Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers isAstronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy
The two primary sources of most of what you'll read about meteor showers areThe American Meteor Society
andThe International Meteor Organinzation
.Perseid Meteor Shower
Late Night August 12 - Early Morning August 13
SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - Prepare for the Perseids
(This article was for 2007. The dates, times and moon phase are different this year.)Early Morning August 12
N America & W EuropeEarly Morning August 13
AsiaEarly Morning August 12 & 13
Middle East & E Europe
The peak rate is 100 per hour at ideal locations. Dates given are for peak visibility. A significant number of meteors will be visible before and after the peak dates. The peak rate of the shower coincides with peak visibility for N America.
The meteors will be most visible after moonset and before dawn begins to lighten the sky. For 30°N (the southern US) that will be about 2:15-5:00am local time. For 45°N (the northern US) the best viewing time will be about 1:15-4:30am.
Source and more information atIMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - Perseids
.Deep Partial Lunar EclipseAugust 16
None of it for North America though. :^[ SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - August's Partial Lunar Eclipse
NASA links:NASA - Total Lunar Eclipse: February 20, 2008
(color diagram and with general info and links)Partial Lunar Eclipse of 2008 August 16
(detailed map with precise technical info).Outline of Sky Events for the Year2008SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Sky Highlights of 2008SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2008SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteor Showers in 2008
The question, "How could I make a valuable contribution to the science of astronomy as a simple naked eye observer?" is answered inSkyandTelescope.com - Stargazing - The Scientific Value of Visual Observing
which may lead you to the following, in order:SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteors: A Primer
,SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Basics of Meteor Observing
andSkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Advanced Meteor Observing
.***** Past Dates *****● Dark MoonJuly 2 & 3
July 3 0219 UT/GMT
July 2 10:19pm EDT
July 2 7:19pm PDT.
Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after. Has a stronger effect on tides producing higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.) Thinnest Crescent Moon
WU Photo: Brand New Moon by Ohlen Wednesday June 4, 2008July 3
It will be possible to spot the first thin crescent of the lunar cycle (the new moon) in the Americas very soon after sunset - Moonsighting.com
.Early July(with special guest appearances by the Thin Crescent Moon)July 5 & 6Mars Passes SaturnJuly 10
Each succeeding early evening above the W horizon you can watch the reddish planet Mars
step to the upper left away from the bluish-white star Regulus
and toward the brighter yellowish planet Saturn
Previews - Graphics of the western evening sky June 30
, July 1
, July 5 & 6
and July 10
fromSkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
.◐ First Quarter MoonJuly 9 or 10
July 10 0435 UT/GMT
July 10 12:35am EDT
July 9 9:35pm PDT.
Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Has a weaker effect on tides producing lower highs, higher lows and slower flows.○ Full Moon
WU photo: Full moon by spaluch1 Tuesday June 17, 2008July 18
Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise. Has a stronger effect on tides producing higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.Night Launch
Early Morning July 23
UnknownSpace Archive - The Southwest's Source for Regional Space Information
The next publicly announced Vandenberg AFB missile launch is a Target Launch Vehicle (TLV) early on the morning of July 23 during a 02:15-03:20 PDT launch period. The launch will be observed by the NFIRE satellite to collect data for the Missile Defense Agency.◑ Last Quarter MoonJuly 25
Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Has a weaker effect on tides producing lower highs, higher lows and slower flows.
Morning crescent moons follow the Last Quarter Moon. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.Multiple Meteor ShowersLast Weekend of July
While there is no especially strong meteor shower this weekend the combined contribution of many sources will produce a rate well above an average night.
Meteors may be visible in late evening for the hour or two before moonrise. Visibility covers the Southern Hemisphere through the southern Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere tropics will have the best visibility.
Source and more information atIMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - Piscis Austrinids
,IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - Southern δ(delta)-Aquariids
,IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - α(alpha)-Capricornids
,IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - Antihelion Source
andIMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - sporadics
.★ ★★★ ★ Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Regulus and VenusMid-Late July
In the early evening above the W horizon you can see the reddish planet Mars
. To its lower right stands the brighter yellowish planet Saturn
. Farther to the lower right stands the bluish-white star Regulus
just a tiny bit brighter than Mars.
These three bright points of light line up to point at the brilliant white planet Venus
lower in the WNW. In mid July Venus sets very soon after the Sun and you will need a clear WSW horizon and possibly binoculars to see her. As the month progresses Saturn and Regulus drop lower and Venus rises higher. By July 28 Mars, Saturn, Regulus and Venus appear roughly equally spaced above the W-WNW horizon.
Throughout latter half of July the brilliant cream colored planet Jupiter
appears higher in the SE in the evening and set earlier in the SW in the morning.
(Tip: To make the colors more noticeable slightly unfocus your camera, binoculars or remove your eyeglasses.)
Extending the line of Venus, Regulus, Saturn and Mars across the sky should pass very close to Jupiter. That line is the result of you looking at the plane of the solar system edge on.
How the sky will look tonight - Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart
. (You can also change locations, dates and times with this tool.)
Previews - Graphics of the western evening sky July 18
and July 30
from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
.( Thinnest Morning Crescent MoonJuly 31
Low in the eastern sky shortly before sunrise.
Saturn, Mars and Regulus (rds817
This was taken at ISO200 with a 10s exposure. I like how the colors of the planets turned out but I can't figure out why they seem so big. Can anybody tell me?
ISO200, F4.0 6s, slightly enhanced. It looked better in the camera, so I had to brighten it up a little.
Crescent moon, Saturn, Mars and Regulus with a few passing clouds, July 6. ISO200 F4.0 4s
This turned out better than the ones last night. And I didn't even have to leave the yard. Although the passing cars probably wondered what I was doing sitting by the road in the dark.
"The Alignment." This past 4th of Jul weekend, there was a beautiful alignment of stars and planetary objects. All you had to do was look west and you could not helped to notice the alignment. I captured it on 5 Jul 2008 just as the crescent Moon was setting over the mountains to the west of Frazier Park, CA. The order from upper left to lower right is Saturn, Mars, Regulus (star), Moon. This was a 15 second exposure at ASA 800 through a Sigma telezoom lens set at 100mm.
Our Galaxy...The Bright Dot is the Planet Jupiter
Luna and the Electric Lights Orchestra....... (shutterbug1
at 10:27 PM , July 14th, 2008... ;-)
A jet departs to the south under a nearly full moon.
Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
~ Farmer's Almanac ~
This Moon Rise looks like the Olympic Mountains are cradling the moon
Full Moon in Paris - Eiffel Tower (BillyJack
Gold Butte Fire Lookout Night Panorama (buddypdx
A friend and I went to stay a couple of nights up at the Gold Butte fire lookout. Wow, what a beautiful place. The lookout is perched atop a 4,600' peak in the middle of Oregon Cascade Range. During the day, we had fantastic views of Mt Jefferson to the east and Mt Hood to the north.
Here's the rental info page:
The photo shows the moon rising through wildfire smoke in the east, the lookout to the south with the (unfortunately, faint) Milky Way rising, and Jupiter shining brightly low in the horizon.
This is a 4 minute exposure, f5.6, ISO 1600 with a 16mm lens on a tracking mount (a mount that rotates at the same rate as Earth - that's why the ground is blurred, but the stars are not). I combined several shots to span from east (left) to west and fiddled with the image levels to try and show the sky. The lookout's blue light is from an LED lamp and the orange light is from the fire in the woodstove. The trees on the right are lit by the moon, which by the time the camera was pointed that way, had risen above the smoke.
Although the moon (and the hazy smoke, and the high clouds...) washed out the Milky Way, it was still amazing and wonderful to see.
North Pole star trails from Madonie Mountains (Sicily-Italy)
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.