August 2020: Planets & Perseids – Sky & Telescope

This month options the Perseid meteor bathe, one of many two greatest shows of “shooting stars” all 12 months. These meteors are induced when little bits of grit, shed by a comet referred to as Swift-Tuttle, slam into our ambiance at 37 miles per second. Every August, like clockwork, we cross the comet’s orbit and plow proper by this dusty particles. You don’t want any particular gear to benefit from the Perseids, and so this annual sky present makes an exquisite exercise to your entire household. The Sky Tour podcast affords nice suggestions for when and the place to see the bathe’s peak exercise.

During August, you possibly can simply spot Jupiter and considerably dimmer Saturn low within the southeast after sundown. As the weeks go by, watch how they regularly slide nearer collectively.Sky & TelescopeWhen you’re ready for the Perseids to indicate up, you possibly can go the time by taking on this summer time’s dynamic duo, Jupiter and Saturn. You’ll discover these two planets shining low within the southeast as quickly because it begins to get darkish after sundown. Jupiter is kind of a bit brighter, each as a result of it’s the larger world and since it’s so much nearer than Saturn each to the Sun and to Earth.

If you wait three hours or so after sundown, you’ll see a 3rd planet rise within the east, nicely to the decrease left of Jupiter and Saturn. That’s Mars, and its barely reddish hue will certainly catch your consideration. As you stare on the Red Planet, take into consideration the truth that throughout July three spacecraft — from three totally different nations — have been launched towards Mars. They’ll all arrive subsequent February.

Some superb stars and constellations await you on these balmy summer time evenings. One particularly brilliant star, just a little to the west of due south after sunet, is Antares, the center of the constellation Scorpius. Antares means “the rival of Mars,” and it is best to have the ability to discover that this star — just like the planet — is barely reddish. It’s an unlimited crimson supergiant star about 550 gentle-years away.

Scorpius is likely one of the few constellations whose stars actually do match the form of the sample’s title. You can use Antares as a beginning to hint out your complete critter, stinger and all! Our podcast tells you what to search for — and find out how to discover a celestial “teapot” lurking close by.

In truth, the Sky Tour podcast is a good way to benefit from the stars and planets that you simply see overhead. It’s been featured by Sky & Telescope each month since 2006, and it retains getting extra standard on a regular basis. So when you’ve acquired 15 minutes to spare, why not give it a attempt?


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