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Tour of the Sky: August 2007

1 Aug 2007, 14:12 UTC
Tour of the Sky:  August 2007
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Download this month's sky map!
Kym Thalassoudis does a wonderful job creating accurate and easy to use star
maps every month! Visit his site at www.skymaps.com for skymaps and links to
other useful astronomical sites. Also a great portal for astronomical gifts!

Northern hemisphere sky
mapSouthern hemisphere sky
map

Those in the Southern Hemisphere should also visit
James Barclay's site for a great tour of the Southern Hemisphere August sky.

Another great site for Southern Hemisphere viewers is the Royal Astronomical
Society of New Zealand's Southern Hemisphere Calendar can be found at the RASNZ siteIan
Musgrave has a very handy Southern Hemisphere site called Southern Sky Watch.

Download "What's up
2007: 365 days of Skywatching" by Tammy Plotner, published by Universe Today
(Faser Cain) it is a fantastic and it is free!

Planets for August 2007
Mercury- In Gemini at the beginning of the month is visible for the
first few mornings of the month in bright twilight. At month's end Mercury will
be visible in the West in the evening twilight. At months end Mercury is in
Virgo look forward to better viewing in September and October -0.9 mag (1st) to
-1.4 mag (21st)
Venus- In Sextans the brilliant Venus has been slowly sinking towards
the Sun and lower in the evening sky. Look for Venus in the early twilight at
the very beginning of the month and look for her razor thin crescent. Venus then
disappears, and for Northern viewers, and is not visible again until the end of
the month in the constellation Cancer. -4.3 mag (1st) to - 4.3 mag (21st)
Mars- In Taurus and glides by the Hyades on the 19th. By midmonth
Mars rises between 11 and 2 depending upon your latitude. Towards the end of the
month the red planet will be near the dimmer, giant red Aldeberon. 0.7 mag (1st)
to 0.6 mag (21st)
Jupiter- In Ophiuchus becomes stationary and returns to proper motion
on the 7th. At sunset Jupiter is near the meridian moving eastward each night.
-2.4 mag (1st) to -2.2 mag (21st)
Saturn- In Leo th mid-southern latitudes can still eek out Saturn,
telescopically, in the Sun's glare 0.6 mag (1st) to 0.6 mag (21st)
Uranus-In Aquarius 5.8 mag (1st) to 5.8 mag (21st)
Neptune-Will camp out in Capricorn all year long 7.9 mag (1st) to 7.8
mag (21st)
4
Vesta -Categorized as a minor planet (Vesta family Main Belt) is
catching up with Jupiter and starts the month a degree from the double star Beta
Scorpius and at a magnitude of 6.7 and is still a good binocular object for
August. At the end of the month Jupiter and Vesta will be less than the width of
the moon apart. Vesta is the second most massive object in the asteroid belt
with a mean diameter of 540 km and was named after the Roman goddess of home and
hearth.

Key Dates for August 2007
Days and Times in UT (help with
time)Observations are for 8pm for the mid-southern latitudes and for
10pm for the mid-northern latitudes.

Great site for sunrise and sunset
times and a downloadable toolbar application by Steve Edwards

Occultation information can be found at the IOTA website!
Astronomical Highlights

 August 

4
- Moon at perigee (closest to Earth 368,891 km)

5
- Last Quarter 21:20 UT

5-8
- Cross Quarter Days

7
- Waning crescent Moon near Mars

- Jupiter stationary resumes its direct/eastward motion

12
- New Moon 23:03 UT

13
- Peak of the Perseid meteor shower 5h UT**

- Peak of the Delta Aquarids

- Neptune at opposition

15
- Mercury at superior conjunction - moving into the evening sky

17
- Look for Spica and Arcturus above the crescent moon

18
- Venus at inferior conjunction - moving into to morning sky

19
- Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth 404,618 km) and roughly between Spica
and the Jupiter/Antares pair

20
- First Quarter Moon 23:54 UT

21
- Jupiter 5 deg from Antares, possible occultation check the IOTA website for
data for your area.

22
- Antares 0.7 deg N of Moon

24
- Mars 5 deg N of Aldebaran

28
- Full Moon, Total
lunar eclipse

31
- Moon at perigee (closest to Earth 364,171 km)

- At dawn look for the reappearance of Venus low and in the East. Don't
confuse the "morning star" with Sirius in the SE

Monthly Messier*

This is the month that we begin to sneak into the summer Milky Way and the
heart of our galaxy as we find 12 more object. Some are visible to the naked
eye, all are possible in binoculars. There are six globular clusters, four open
clusters, and two diffuse nebula. Many of these objects also appear to be in
pairs, either in visual appearance or location.

M10, M12 This pair of globular
clusters in the middle of Ophiuchus are easily swept up in binoculars looking
like small blue snow balls. Through an 8" telescope M12 is well resolved while
M10 is slightly more fuzzy looking. Both become very bright towards the center.
M107 A small, fairly
faint globular cluster in Ophiuchus. It is a tough binocular object, appearing
as a very small faint patch of light possibly requiring averted vision. In a
telescope, M107 is a larger and brighter fuzzy patch of light than what can be
seen in binoculars. M9
Another small, relatively faint globular cluster in Ophiuchus. M9 is very
similar to M107, only slightly brighter. Another tough, but possible binocular
object. M19, M62 Another pair of globular clusters in Ophiuchus separated by
about four degrees. Fairly easy to find in binoculars, they are smaller than M10
and M12 thus not quite as obvious. These clusters are not resolvable through
small scopes, and appear as round fuzzy patches brightening towards the center.
M19 is slightly brighter than M62. M6, M7 This is a pair of large,
bright open clusters in Scorpius visible to the naked eye. Binoculars provide
the best view of these clusters. Both are completely resolvable in 10x50
binoculars and can be fit into the same field of view. M7 is the larger and
brighter of the pair. M8 This is a bright emission
nebula in Sagittarius, easily visible to the naked eye. The common name of M8 is
the Lagoon nebula. In binoculars M8 is an oval cloud of light larger than the
full moon with several bright stars embedded within it. A telescope makes this
nebula larger and brighter but does not really improve the view. M20 Another diffuse nebula in
Sagittarius only 1.4 degrees northwest of M8 and is called the Trifid nebula.
This is easily seen in binoculars looking like a cloud of smoke around some
bright stars. A view through a telescope appears much the same, although try to
pick out the three dust lanes that gives M20 its name. This is a somewhat
difficult object to see right away, at first glance it looks like the optics are
in need of cleaning and are causing the light from the bright stars to "smear".
M21 This is a small,
but bright open cluster in Sagittarius right next to M20. Binoculars show a very
small bright patch partially resolvable. Small telescopes easily resolve all of
the clusters members. M8, M20, and M21 are all within the same binocular field
and lie in a very rich region of the Milky Way. This view is one of the finest
to be found. M23 The
last object of the month is a large open cluster in Sagittarius. through
binoculars M23 is a large, hazy patch of light almost the size of the full moon.
A telescope at low powers easily resolves this cluster among a rich background
of other stars.
*Monthly Messier information gleaned from the Royal Astronomical Society of
Canada, Moncton Centre Quebec and from the Astronomy Connection website.

Table Mountain Star Party Observing List and
those who completed
the list

Astronomical Highlights for 2007
Earth's major motions for 2007

Perihelion

Jan 3 20h(UT)

First Cross Quarter Day

Feb 2-6

Equinox

Mar 21 00:07(UT)

Second Cross Quarter Day

May 4-7

Solstice

June 21 18:06(UT)

Aphelion

July 4 00h (UT)

Third Cross Quarter Day

Aug 5-8

Equinox

Sept 23 19:51(UT)

Fourth Cross Quarter Day

Nov 5-8

Solstice

Dec 22 06:08(UT)

Planet Positions for 2007

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Venus
Sgr
Aqr
Psc
Ari
Tau
Gem
Leo
Sex
Cnc
Leo
Leo
Vir

Mars
Oph
Sgr
Cap
Cap
Aqr
Psc
Ari
Tau
Tau
Gem
Gem
Gem

Jupiter
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph
Oph

Saturn
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo
Leo

Uranus
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu
Aqu

Neptune
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap
Cap

Eclipses for 2007

March 19 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and
animation!): The first
solar eclipse of 2007 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Pisces and is
visible from eastern Asia and parts of northern Alaska

September 11 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and
animation): The last
eclipse of 2007 is a partial solar eclipse at the Moon's descending node in
southern Leo. Its visibility is confined to parts of South America, Antarctica
and the South Atlantic

March 3-4 - total lunar eclipse (see
map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in the Arctic region,
Africa, Europe, Asia except for extreme eastern region, most of Indonesia,
western Australia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica, extreme eastern South America,
Greenland, the Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern North
Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe, western Asia, Queen Maud Land
of Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula, South America, eastern North America,
Greenland, the Arctic region, the Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and
the extreme eastern South Pacific Ocean.

August 28 - total lunar eclipse (see
map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in North America, South
America except extreme east, Antarctica except for Enderby Land, New Zealand,
eastern Australia, extreme northeastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and the western
Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in New Zealand, Australia, most of Antarctica
except Queen Maud Land, Indonesia, eastern Asia, western North America, the
Pacific Ocean, and the southeastern Indian Ocean.

Eclipse information from:
NASA Eclipse
Homepage, Eclipses Online (HM
Nautical Almanac Office, UK in coordination with the U.S. Naval
Observatory)
Meteor Showers
for 2007

As luck would have it, all the major meteor showers reach their peaks
in 2007 with the Moon out of the sky. Any of these showers can produce dozens of
shooting stars each dark hour leading up to dawn.

Mark your calendar to look
for...
Perseids on August 13th
Orionids on October 21st
Leonids on November 18th
Geminids on the night of December 13-14 (Meteor enthusiasts are keenly
awaiting the Geminids in 2007 because their progenitor, the defunct comet
Phaethon, precedes them in a flyby of Earth on December 10th.)

Historical and Current EventsClick
here to view the entire list
Culled from Wikipedia and others, by Mark Tillotson (Thank you
Mark!)

Comets for August

Gary Kronk's comet and
meteor pagesSkyhound
Comet pages
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat or write us a
favorable review in iTunes of Podcast Pickle or iPodder!

Music Scottish Guitar
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Jones - "Ride"Big
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