Author: Spencer Collins Published: July 29, 2022 Add a Comment
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Solar System Events
- 3. Planetary Observing and Imaging
- 4. Deep Sky Objects (Nebulae, Galaxies, Clusters)
- 5. Telescope Recommendations
Welcome to August, another exciting month for the astronomy community thanks to a third consecutive Full Super Moon, meteor shower, and some excellent opportunities for planetary imaging and observing! To help prioritize your astronomical observing and imaging sessions, we’ve put together an overview of this month’s highlights to get you out with a telescope under clear skies and looking up at the cosmos. Gear recommendations and highlights from the astronomy community are included to give you a good idea of the tools needed (or not needed) to enjoy the night sky.
2. Solar System Events
Figure 1 - Sinus Iridum, Jeffrey Horne
The first and last weeks of the month will be the ideal time for dark skies during the 1st Quarter and New Moon phases, with a Full Supermoon occurring on August 11th! This will be the 3rd consecutive Super Moon of the year, with the Moon appearing slightly larger and closer to us than normal as it makes a relatively close approach in its orbital path. August also presents us with a showing of the Perseids Meteor Shower on August 12/13, though the bright Full Moon may cause some difficulty with observations. The best opportunity for viewing will be while the Moon is lower in the sky, a couple hours prior to sunrise, to ensure the darkest skies possible. Turn your eyes toward the constellation Perseus for this no-gear-required event!
- 1st Quarter: August 4th
- Full moon: August 11th (Super Moon)
- Last Quarter: August 18th
- New Moon: August 26th
- August 13: Perseids Meteor Shower expected peak
- August 14: Saturn at opposition
- August 27: Mercury at greatest eastern elongation from the Sun
3. Planetary Observing and Imaging
Throughout August, our closest planetary neighbors will continue to move into opportune locations in the night sky to maximize your chances for capturing these giants. Shortly after sunset, Saturn will begin to rise in the southeast, followed closely by Jupiter and Mars. Whether you are using a beginner telescope such as a simple dobsonian reflector, or an advanced astrophotography setup, August will provide plenty of opportunity to witness the 3 most commonly sought-after planets. For dedicated astrophotographers, we highly recommend taking this opportunity to replace your astronomy camera with an eyepiece, at least for a few hours, to renew that sense of excitement we all experience when first laying our eyes on distant worlds.
Saturn will rise first in August’s planetary parade, though still quite low on the horizon until later in the evening. On August 14th, Saturn will be at its closest point in orbit to Earth, known as its opposition. This opposition is the perfect time to observe or image the ringed beauty using a high-powered eyepiece for a close-up view. A polarizing filter, such as the BST 2" Variable Transmission Polarizing Filter, may also help to alleviate some of the brightness that can often wash out planetary details
Figure 2 - Saturn at Opposition, Dan Borja
Following close behind Saturn, Jupiter and its many moons rise in the east. Use your favorite planetarium apps or other tools to plan your observing sessions around lunar transits for a true observing treat. The image to the right shows Galilean moons Io (front) transiting and Ganymede (back) being occulted by their parent planet, with the Io’s shadow visible on the planet surface. Under good seeing conditions, the separate color bands, Great Red Spot, and other features become visible with even modest telescopes.
Figure 3 - Jupiter & Moons, Matt Smith
Though less impressive visually than Saturn and Jupiter, Mars is also visible in the August night sky, requiring a slightly larger aperture and better seeing conditions than the gas giants to capture highly detailed images. Using an atmospheric dispersion corrector, such as the ZWO Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector, can also help to reduce the impact of the thick atmosphere on planetary observing/imaging as these targets sit quite low on the horizon.
Figure 4 - Mars, Ivana Peranic
If you are hoping to observe these planets using an eyepiece for the first time, you may find it helpful to have at least two different eyepieces on hand: one lower powered and one higher powered. A low power eyepiece, such as the Agena 26mm Super-Wide-Angle Eyepiece, can make it easy to place these visually small targets into the telescopes field of view. Once you have centered the target, a higher power eyepiece, such as the Agena 10mm Super-Wide-Angle Eyepiece, will bring you a closer view and allow you to more carefully inspect the Cassini Division in Saturn’s rings, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, or the dust storms and polar caps of Mars. To further enhance the contrast of different planetary features, you may also find benefit from the use of color/planetary filters. These filters pass only certain frequencies of light which can enhance the observer's ability to discern small details on some solar system objects. Check out Agena’s guide to these filters here for more in-depth info!
While visual planetary astronomy is incredibly rewarding, capturing highly detailed images of the planets is more possible now than ever before. Dedicated astronomy cameras with incredibly fast video capture frame rates make it possible to turn a few minutes of video into thousands of individual frames for stacking to create sharp lunar and planetary images. These cameras are available in color or monochrome models of different sizes and configurations to best suit your telescope. Check out the brand-new additions to the ZWO planetary camera lineup below or click here for our full listing of imaging cameras.
4. Deep Sky Objects (Nebulae, Galaxies, Clusters)
August continues the trend of abundant narrowband emission nebulae, though some very popular broadband targets are beginning to rise in the night sky as well. Here are some of our recommended deep sky targets for August:
Some 6,000 lightyears away sits Sh2-86, a hydrogen emission nebula housing the open star clusters NGC 6820 and 6823, located in the constellation Vulpecula. This is an excellent target for telescopes with a focal length up to about 1000mm, with shorter focal lengths able to capture more of the surrounding nebulosity. Imaging this target with a combination of hydrogen filters and traditional LRGB as shown in Figure 5 helps to reveal both the deep red hydrogen and colorful starfield.
Figure 5 - Sh2-86, Timothy Hutchison
Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31)
One of the most captivating and popular targets in the night sky is the one and only Andromeda Galaxy, officially known as Messier 31. M31 is visible to the naked eye when the Moon is dim, making it a must-see through a telescope eyepiece as well. Wide-field telescopes are necessary to capture the full size of the galaxy in one frame, considering M31 is roughly the size of 6 full moons as seen in our sky! Under heavy light pollution, broadband imaging filters such as the Optolong L-Pro or a Baader CMOS-Optimized UV/IR Cut Filter can help to improve the contrast in your images.
Figure 6 - Andromeda Galaxy, Nicholas Bradley
Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) & Neighbors
Located in the constellation Cassiopeia, the Bubble Nebula is a tremendous emission nebula with a truly 3-D feel thanks to its spherical core. The star cluster M52 and Lobster Claw Nebula also sit nearby, framing nicely into the field of view of shorter focal length equipment as shown in figure 8, though a close-up of the Bubble with longer focal lengths can be truly remarkable! Narrowband imaging filters such as the ZWO 7nm SHO Imaging Filters or Optolong L-eNhance dual pass imaging filter can help to pull the most data out of this nebulous region.
Figure 7 - Bubble Nebula, Mikhaile Savary
Figure 8 - Bubble Nebula & Neighbors, Jared Holloway
Helix Nebula (NGC 7293)
Though a bit low on the horizon until later in the night, the Helix Nebula presents a great opportunity for imaging at any focal length (the image in figure 9 is cropped in from only 400mm focal length). Larger telescopes will be able to show finer details within the nebula and a clearer separation in the layers of hydrogen and oxygen, while shorter focal lengths will show a sharp contrast between the colorful nebulosity and otherwise dark surrounding space. As the brightest planetary nebula in the sky at magnitude 7.6, the Helix Nebula is also worth checking out through the eyepiece under dark skies!
Figure 9 - Helix Nebula, Mikhaile Savary
5. Telescope Recommendations
Solar System Observing and Imaging
Figure 10 - Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope
Celestron NexStar Evolution Schmidt-Cassegrain
The 6" Celestron NexStar Evolution Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is a step up from the popular Celestron NexStar SE telescope lineup, offering a built-in battery with up to 10 hours of use per charge and wireless control. Manage your observing session from your phone or tablet thanks to NexStar Evolution's built-in wireless network and Celestron’s mobile app. This telescope will provide outstanding views of the solar system with 1500mm of focal length and can be modified with an equatorial wedge at a later time to capture long exposure images of deep sky objects as well. This telescope provides an excellent option for flexibility in future astronomy or astrophotography ventures.
Deep Sky Imaging
Figure 11 - Askar FRA300 Quintuplet Astrograph Telescope
Askar FRA300 60mm f/5 Quintuplet Astrograph
The new Askar FRA300 60mm f/5 Quintuplet Astrograph telescope is a stunning piece of gear suited perfectly for wide-field astrophotography thanks to its inherent flat-field. No additional field flattener or reducer is required as this scope will provide sharp views, even with a full-frame camera such as the ZWO ASI6200 Full Frame CMOS Cooled Astronomy Camera. Weighing less than 7lbs, a portable equatorial mount such as the iOptron CEM26 is well equipped to support the light payload of the Askar FRA300, even fully loaded with electronic filter wheels, astronomy cameras, guide cameras, etc.
Full Supermoon for August 2022
August's full Sturgeon Moon reaches its peak on Thursday, August 11, 2022. It will be the last supermoon of the year, bringing supermoon season to a close! The next supermoon will not rise until July 3, 2023.
In 2022 the night sky promises to be full of cosmic wonders. A pair of total lunar eclipses—nicknamed “blood moons” for the deep shade of red the moon turns when bathed in Earth's shadow—will be visible to billions. Brilliant shooting stars will streak across the heavens with no bright moon to drown out the light.What astronomical event will happen in 2022? ›
There will be two Super Full Moons in 2022, one on 14 June and another on 13 July. The 13 July Super Full Moon also marks the closest approach in the year, when the Moon will be 357,264 km away from the Earth. There will be one Super New Moon on 23 December, however the New Moon isn't visible in the sky.What happens in the sky in August? ›
August is another fabulous month of astronomical variety. There's a spectacular meteor shower, the chance to see the Moon passing close to all of the brighter planets of our Solar System, the Milky Way overhead and the possibility of noctilucent or 'night shining' clouds.What is the brightest star in the sky August 2022? ›
Vega is the brightest star in the Summer Triangle and it is younger than our solar system and around twice the size of our Sun. Like the Sun, Vega is predominantly composed of hydrogen and is a main sequence star.Is August 2022 a supermoon? ›
The Sturgeon supermoon was visible last night Thursday 11 August 2022 and into the early hours of this morning, in the UK and around the world. If you were unable to see August's supermoon at its peak, it will also appear full tonight.What planets are visible in the night sky in August? ›
The solar system's giant planets take center stage on August nights. The time is ripe to look for stunning detail in the rings of Saturn (left) and on Jupiter's disk (right). Midsummer observing means giant planets, with Jupiter and Saturn visible before midnight.What constellations can you see in August? ›
The constellations best seen in August are Aquila, Corona Australis, Lyra, Pavo, Sagitta, Sagittarius, Scutum and Telescopium.Is there a comet coming in 2022? ›
Halley's Comet hasn't been seen in the inner solar system since 1986 and yet this month will be responsible for one of the finest meteor showers of 2022.What time is the meteor shower August 2022? ›
The shower is expected to reach peak activity at around 19:00 PDT on 12 August 2022.
The asteroid 2022 AP7 is no exception. “Over time, this asteroid will get brighter and brighter in the sky as it starts crossing Earth's orbit closer and closer to where the Earth actually is,” Dr. Sheppard said.Can you stargaze in August? ›
Summer months mean long days and short nights and, therefore, significantly reduce stargazing opportunities. Hours of morning and evening twilight are longer during the summer. The skies take longer to get dark after sunset and get lighter earlier before sunrise leaving only a short period to view dark skies.Can I see the Milky Way in August? ›
From February to June: The Milky Way is visible in the early morning. From July to August: The Milky Way is visible during the middle of the night. From September to October: The Milky Way is visible in the evening.Are there shooting stars in August? ›
They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity. Next Peak - The Perseids will next peak on the Aug 12-13, 2023 night. On this night, the moon will be 10% full.What time is the supermoon August 2022? ›
When Can You See the August Supermoon? According to Space.com, this month's full moon — the last supermoon of the year — arrives on Thursday, August 11, 2022, and will be visible around 9:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT, also known as Eastern Standard Time).Where is Venus August 2022? ›
On the morning of August 10, 2022, look east before sunrise to see the brightest planet, Venus. It rises about 90 minutes before the sun. Then look for the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, to the north (or left) of Venus.Why is the moon Orange August 2022? ›
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. A rising full Moon look orange because of a phenomena called Raleigh Scattering.Are there two full moons in August? ›
The first of August's two full moons occurred on August 1st as a preview for a so-called “blue moon” rising on Aug. 31.What will the moon look like on August 8 2022? ›
The current moon phase for August 8th, 2022 is the Waxing Gibbous phase. On this day, the moon is 10.83 days old and 83.31% illuminated with a tilt of 117.115°. The approximate distance from Earth to the moon is 363,254.11 km and the moon sign is Sagittarius.What is August full moon called? ›
Why is August's full moon called the Sturgeon Moon? The August full moon is named after a fish called a sturgeon, which was readily caught during this time of year in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. (Fun fact: The sturgeon is North America's largest freshwater fish!)
Sirius, also known as the Dog Star or Sirius A, is the brightest star in Earth's night sky. The name means "glowing" in Greek — a fitting description, as only a few planets, the full moon and the International Space Station outshine this star. Because Sirius is so bright, it was well-known to the ancients.Where can I find a Saturn August 2022? ›
August 14, 2022: Saturn at Opposition
Low to the east-southeast, you'll see the waning gibbous Moon and Jupiter rise. But then look low to the southeast. You'll see a very bright star down low, but currently higher than the Moon and Jupiter.
What is Sirius? The night sky's brightest star—and one of the closest to us. Like so many stars in the night sky, Sirius may look like a single star, but it's actually part of a binary star system.What is the best month to see the Milky Way? ›
In the spring (March – May), it will first become visible a few hours before sunrise. By June it will rise much earlier before midnight. The summer months (June – August) are generally the best viewing time because it will be up most of the night.Can you see the Milky Way in summer? ›
It will reach it's highest point around midnight in the southern sky. But the hours before and after midnight will allow for great viewing as well. As long as your nights are long enough, summer is the best time of year overall for seeing the milky way.How many stars are in the Milky Way 2022? ›
Astronomers estimate there are about 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way alone.Which meteor shower occurs in August? ›
About the Meteor Shower
The Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in mid-August, is considered the best meteor shower of the year. With swift and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long "wakes" of light and color behind them as they streak through Earth's atmosphere.
The Perseids are caused by Earth passing through debris — bits of ice and rock — left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle which last passed close to Earth in 1992. The Perseids peak when Earth passes through the densest and dustiest area on Aug. 11-12.Where is Orion's belt in August? ›
How can you tell the stars you're seeing are Orion? In short, watch for Orion's 3 medium-bright “Belt” stars, pointing upward from the eastern horizon on late July and early August mornings. Also, notice the V-shaped pattern above Orion in the sky.Where is Halley's comet right now 2022? ›
Comet Halley (1P/Halley) is currently in the constellation of Hydra.
Not much in our lifetimes -- perhaps 1 in 10,000 -- but over thousands or millions of years, major impacts become pretty likely. Ancient craters on Earth's surface prove that large objects have hit Earth in the past, and there's no reason to think this won't continue in the future.What is the next comet to pass Earth? ›
Bottom line: the comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is headed towards the Earth. By February 1, 2023, it will reach its maximum brightness and become a binocular object. Text Credit:Vito Technology, Inc.Are there any meteor showers in August 2022? ›
Perseids | August 11–13, 2022
Thanks to a high MPH (Meteors Per Hour) and seasonable August weather, the Perseids are typically one of the best meteor-viewing experiences of the year at their peak.
When is the best time to see the Perseid meteor shower in 2022? The best time to see the Perseids in 2022 is late Friday 12th August (close to midnight) or early Saturday 13th August (before dawn).Where is the meteor shower 2022? ›
The Perseid meteor shower radiant is in the constellation Perseus. This strong shower is produced by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, an icy body that takes 133 Earth years to orbit once around the sun. If there's a clear sky, the Perseids will have a meteor rate of about 100 visible "shooting stars" per hour.What asteroid will hit the Earth in 2022? ›
2022 WJ1 was a tiny asteroid on a collision course with Earth. But astronomers saw it coming, and NASA's Scout impact hazard assessment system calculated where it would hit.Will 2022 AP7 hit Earth? ›
The term “planet killer” may sound scary but as far as 2022 AP7 goes, it will be staying “well away” from Earth for now, according to Sheppard. “It has no chance to hit the Earth currently,” he told Euronews Next in an email.Where will Comet K2 be visible? ›
The comet will be visible in the Ophiuchus constellation from the Northern and Southern hemispheres, Masi said. "A dark sky would offer the best sight," Masi said. He recommends observing K2 over the next few nights as the moon leaves the evening sky.What celestial events are happening in August? ›
The summer night sky in August will be full of celestial sights, most notably the Full Sturgeon Moon (the fourth and final supermoon of 2022), the Summer Triangle (three of the brightest stars shining together), the peak of the Perseid meteor shower (which will unfortunately be obscured by the light of the full Moon), ...Can you see Orion's belt in August? ›
In late August and early September, look for a hint of the changing season in the predawn sky: Orion the Hunter and Sirius the Dog Star. The very noticeable constellation Orion the Hunter rises before dawn at this time of year, recognizable for the short straight line of three stars that make up Orion's Belt.
The constellation Andromeda, Princess of Ethiopia, is visible in the northern hemisphere from August through January. It can be seen and in the southern hemisphere in November.What direction is the Milky Way in August? ›
Late summer is one of the best times of year to view the full splendor of our galaxy, the Milky Way. From our vantage point within the galaxy, the Milky Way appears as a huge, shimmering cloud of light arching from the southern horizon to high overhead.Can you see Andromeda in August? ›
In the Northern hemisphere, the best time to view the Andromeda Galaxy is between August and September. In the southern hemisphere, you can see it between October and December. During these seasons, Andromeda will appear as soon as the sky darkens.What month has the most shooting stars? ›
Earth passes through the comet's orbit during the month of August every year. It is not as active as the Leonids, but it is the most widely watched meteor shower of the year, peaking on Aug. 12 with more than 60 meteors per minute.When to see the Perseids 2022? ›
The Perseid meteor shower in 2022 started on 17 July, and will be visible until 24 August. It peaks on 13 August, with a decent helping of meteors continuing until 16 August, before beginning to wane by around 21-22 August. The best time to view the Perseids will be between midnight and dawn, in this time frame.What month do shooting stars fall? ›
|Annual Meteor Showers|
|Delta Aquarids||July 15- August 15|
|Perseids||July 25 - August 18|
|Taurids||October 20-November 30|
Perseid meteor shower 2022 - In-The-Sky.org. The Perseid meteor shower will be active from 17 July to 24 August, producing its peak rate of meteors around 13 August.Will a meteor hit Earth in 2022? ›
It has since been confirmed that 2022 AE1 will not impact Earth and has been removed from ESA's risk list.What is happening in the sky August 12 2022? ›
6:19 a.m. 7:48 p.m. Moonrise for Friday, August 12 occurs at 8:56 p.m. and moonset occurs at 7:52 a.m. on the following day. Friday, August 12, the Moon will exhibit a waning gibbous phase with roughly 99% of the lunar disk illuminated. Last quarter moon occurs on August 18, 2022, at 11:36 p.m.What famous meteor shower occurs in August? ›
The Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in mid-August, is considered the best meteor shower of the year. With swift and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long "wakes" of light and color behind them as they streak through Earth's atmosphere.
Meteors from this source are expected from August 17 through September 6, with maximum activity occurring on August 29. The current position lies at 23:48 (357) +74, which lies in northern Cepheus, 4 degrees south of the 3rd magnitude star known as Errai (gamma Cephei A).What meteor shower happens every August? ›
They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity. Next Peak - The Perseids will next peak on the Aug 12-13, 2023 night. On this night, the moon will be 10% full.How likely is Earth to get hit by an asteroid? ›
While space rocks of this magnitude are likely to hit Earth only every hundred million years or so, NEOs 50 to 100 meters (164 to 328 feet) across can strike much faster, roughly every thousand years, and can destroy a large city or level similarly large areas, and also lead to ecological destruction.Is there a meteor shower tonight 2022? ›
The 2022 Leonid meteor shower peaks over the night of November 17-18. You may also see increased numbers of meteors a few days before and after the peak. To watch, go to the darkest place you can, let your eyes adjust, and spend some time looking at the sky.What is the meaning of Perseid? ›
noun. Per·se·id ˈpər-sē-əd. : any of a group of meteors that appear annually about August 11.When should I watch the Perseid meteor shower? ›
Perseids are best viewed from midnight to sunrise and in 2023 the waning crescent moon will not washout any meteors. The greatest number of meteors will be visible after the radiant rises, but the shooting stars themselves can appear anywhere in the sky, seeming to trail from the radiant point.Why is the moon orange tonight August 2022? ›
A rising full Moon look orange because of a phenomena called Raleigh Scattering.Why is the moon so big tonight August 2022? ›
Also called the “sturgeon moon”, it looks larger and brighter because of how close this full moon is to the Earth. It is the fourth and final supermoon of 2022.