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Post Info TOPIC: August 2011


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RE: August 2011
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August can be a trying time for skywatchers.
The night sky is full of bright, sprawling constellations, but storm clouds often limit viewing. And, at least in the state's lower elevations, it's still uncomfortably warm.
But when the clouds break, there are spectacular sights to be seen.
Consider Scorpius - it's big and bright and is one of the few constellations that actually looks something like its name.
It's easy to find in August: Just wait an hour after sunset and look low in the southern sky.

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Mercury: at magnitude 1.4, starts the month in the constellation of Leo.  Mercury is in conjunction with Venus (5.9°) at 23:21 UT, 16th August, 2011. Mercury, at magnitude 4.1, makes its closest approach to the Earth (distance to earth: 0.605 AU) at 18:55 UT, 13th August, 2011.
(On August 24th, RA= 9h21m54s  Dec=+12°13.5' (J2000) Distance=0.691AU  Elongation= 12°   Phase k=8%  Diameter=9.7")

Venus: is at magnitude -3.9. The planet is in constellation Cancer at the start of the month. It is best seen from 3.7h -20.3h. Venus is at Perihelion (distance to sun: 0.718 AU) at 08:45 UT, 9th August, 2011. Venus is at superior conjunction, (Distance to earth: 1.731 AU) at 12:05 UT, 16th August, 2011.
(On August 1st, RA= 8h27m00s  Dec=+20°07.2' (J2000) Distance=1.727AU  Elongation=  4°   Phase k=99%  Diameter=9.7")

  phase.gif


Earth:

The Moon: First Quarter Moon at 11:08.3 UT, 6th August. Lunar Apogee is at 20:56.2 UT, 2nd August.  Lunar Apogee at 16:15.5 UT, 18th August. Last Quarter moon at 21:54.5 UT, 21st August. New Moon at 3:04.1 UT, 29th August. Full Moon at 18:57.5 UT, 13th August, 2011.

Mars: at magnitude 1.4 starts the month in the constellation Taurus.
(On August 1st,RA= 5h52m21s  Dec=+23°43.1' (J2000) Distance=2.129AU  Elongation= 40°   Phase k=95%  Diameter=4.4" )

Jupiter: is in the constellation Aries. At magnitude -2.5, the planet is best seen from  22.6h - 3.7h. Jupiter is stationary: Getting Retrograde (relative to equator) at 17:39 UT, 30th August, 2011.
(On August 1st, RA= 2h27m20s  Dec=+13°13.4' (J2000) Distance=4.858AU  Elongation= 89°   Diameter=40.5")

Saturn: at magnitude 0.9 sits in the constellation Virgo. The planet is best seen from 22.3h - 0.1h.
(On
August 1st, RA=12h48m47s  Dec= -2°39.5' (J2000) Distance=10.064AU  Elongation= 63°   Diameter=16.4")

Uranus: is in the constellation Pisces. Uranus at magnitude 5.9, has a bluish-green hue and appears 3.6 arcseconds wide. 
(On August 16th, RA= 0h15m20s  Dec= +0°49.6' (J2000) Distance=19.299AU  Elongation=140°   Diameter=3.6")

Neptune: is in the constellation Aquarius. Neptune makes its closest approach to the Earth (28.995 AU) on the 22nd August, 2011.

Pluto: is in the constellation Sagittarius (mag 14.0). Normally, a finder chart is necessary to help in identifying the 0.1" diameter dwarf planet. The dwarf planet is best seen from 23.6h - 2.7h.
(On August 1st, RA=18h21m58s  Dec=-18°56.0' (J2000) Distance=31.227AU  Elongation=146°   Diameter=0.1")

The Sun enters the zodiac sign Virgo at 11:21 UT, 23rd August.



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augustus2.gif



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Highlights

August 1 is the date of an ancient Pagan festival of Lammas or Lughnasadh (LOO-nah-sah). It marks the beginning of the last quarter of the Celtic year. The festival is associated with the god Lugh, or Samildanach, which means "he of many gifts".

The Perseids Meteor Shower Peaks on August 13th

Albireo
Probably the most colourful double star in the night sky can now be found nearly overhead at 11:30 p.m. local daylight time, in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan, also known as the Northern Cross. Albireo supposedly marks the swans beak.
A small telescope, or even a pair of steadily held binoculars, will readily split Albireo into two tiny points of light of beautiful contrasting colours: the brighter one a rich yellowish-orange, the other a deep azure blue, both placed very close together. An absolutely stunning view will come with a telescope magnifying between 18 and 30 power.

Sagittarius and the Galactic Centre.
For northern observers, the Teapot of Sagittarius should be dashing across the southern horizon. Observe the lower western corner, which lies immediately above the stinger of Scorpio, the scorpion. You are now looking straight toward the heart of the galaxy, the galactic centre. The actual centre is not visible to us due to the unimaginable amount of dust and stars blocking the way, but we do know something about it thanks to both radio and infrared radiation that is not so easily blocked.



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Meteor Showers

August has one major meteor shower.
The Perseids Meteor Shower that peaks on August 13th.

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity ZHR
  DateR.A. Dec. km/s  
S. Delta-Aquariids
July 14-Aug 18
30th July
3.9h
-51.8d
14 km/s
11.2
Gamma Aquarids 2 August    
Alpha Ursa Majorids 10 August    
Northern Iota Aquariids 12 August    
Kappa Cygnids 12 August18.6h46.2°29.7km/s5.8
Piscids 13 August    
Perseids 13 August3.2h58.1°59.3km/s79.9
Alpha Capricornids 15 August21.2h-5.8°17.5km/s11.7
Cygnids 18 August    
Ypsilon Pegasids 18 August1.1h53.4°34.8km/s4.7
Alpha Ursa Majorids 25 August12.3h65.8°35.0km/s3.7
Alpha Aurigids 26 August   


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