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TOPIC: August 2009


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RE: August 2009
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The Perseid meteor showers will peak on the nights of Aug. 11 and 12.
Bill Weller, president of the Nanaimo Astronomy Society, said those who want to stay up late can get a fantastic view.
Weller recommends finding a remote area where it is darker than urban settings, preferably one with a clear horizon. After that, said Weller, do no more than set up a lawn chair and look up.

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This is a tale of two planets: During August, Jupiter is seen throughout the night as a brilliant beacon sauntering across the heavens, while Saturn's rings now appear flat.
Jupiter reaches "opposition" Aug. 14, which means that from Earth's perspective, the large planet is opposite the sun. Thus, when the sun sets in the west, you can look across the heavens to watch Jupiter ascend the eastern sky. Essentially, the negative second magnitude planet will be visible all night long. Locate this large, gaseous ball in the constellation Capricornus.

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Astronomy enthusiasts in the country could watch out for the annual Perseid meteor shower this month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said yesterday.
Pagasa said the Perseid meteor shower would peak on the night of Aug. 12 with hundreds of meteors shower per hour that can be observed under most favorable sky conditions.

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On the 1st August:

Mercury (Magnitude -0.4) is in the constellation Leo.
Elongation=18.3° East.

Venus (Magnitude -4.0) is in the constellation Orion.  The planet is best seen from  12.3h -18.7h GMT.
Position (2000): RA= 5h59m23s  Dec=+21°48.2'
Distance=1.131AU 
Elongation= 39°  
Phase k=73% 
Diameter=14.7"

Mars (Magnitude 1.1) is in the constellation Taurus.  The planet is best seen from  1.0h - 4.6h  GMT.
Position (2000): RA= 4h49m02s  Dec=+22°08.5'
Distance=1.764AU 
Elongation= 55°  
Phase k=90% 
Diameter=5.3"  

Jupiter (Magnitude -2.8) is in the constellation Capricornus. 

Saturn (Magnitude 1.1) is in the constellation Leo.

Uranus (Magnitude 5.8) is in the constellation Pisces.

Neptune (Magnitude 7.8) is in the constellation Capricornus. The planet is best seen from  0.9h - 2.8h GMT.
Position (2000): RA=21h51m11s  Dec=-13°26.9'
Distance=29.055AU 
Elongation=163°  
Diameter=2.3"

Pluto (Magnitude 14) is in the constellation Sagittarius.  The dwarf planet is best seen from 23.6h - 2.9h GMT.
Position (2000): RA=18h03m55s  Dec=-17°46.8'
Distance=30.879AU 
Elongation=142°  
Diameter=0.1"

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When Saturn leaves, look for the Milky Way
Well, planets have been rather scarce in the evening sky for several months now. We've only had one, Saturn, and we're circling around the Sun from the ringed planet. Have a look in the western sky at 7:49 p.m. tonight and you'll see a bright star about two fist-widths above the western horizon. It's not a star, it's Saturn and we're losing it into the Sun's glare.

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For August, the Full Moon will be on August 6 the Green Corn moon in American Indian lore. The first week of August will thus find the Moon waxing and visible each evening.
The morning of August 12 is the peak for the Perseid Meteor Shower, our best annual celestial fireworks show. If you have a dark sky site, you will see about a meteor every 2-3 minutes from midnight until dawn.
The waxing crescent moon passes close to Saturn and Mercury in evening twilight on August 22, with all three objects in a straight line along the SW horizon about 8:15 p.m. CDT, with Mercury in the middle...a great photo op for digital camera users with a tripod mount shooting in night shot mode.

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August can be a trying month for Arizona stargazers.
While the skies are full of celestial delights - several bright, sprawling constellations and one of the most reliable annual meteor showers - monsoon clouds often limit viewing opportunities. And, at least in the lower elevations, it's still pretty darn hot, even at night.

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August ranks as the best month to observe a meteor shower. The temperatures are warm and the meteors are plentiful during the annual Perseid meteor shower.
On the evening of Aug. 11 and the morning of Aug. 12, the Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak activity. By casting your gaze high in the northeastern sky, you will see as many as 30 bright meteors per hour streak across the sky. The meteors can be seen as soon as it gets sufficiently dark, but the peak activity of this shower for Colorado observers will be between 11:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. Properly protect yourself from mosquitoes and place a blanket or lawn chair in a place away from lights.

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Aquarid, Perseid showers will be around until late August
For Metro Moncton residents, the word 'showers' has come up far too often in weather forecasts over the past few weeks.
Entrenched in the middle of summer, southeastern New Brunswickers want to hear hot and dry weather is on the way, not cool weather and more showers.
For astronomers and stargazers, however, the word 'showers' is always welcome.
Of course, it is not rain showers, but meteor showers, that interest the skywatchers. And over the next few weeks, they will be treated to two different varieties of meteor shower, each spectacular in their own way.

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