In the Northern Hemisphere, the annual August Perseid meteor shower probably ranks as the all-time favorite meteor shower of the year. This major shower takes place during the lazy, hazy days of summer, when many families are on vacation. And what could be more luxurious than taking a siesta in the heat of the day and watching this summertime classic in the relative coolness of night? No matter where you live worldwide, the 2015 Perseid meteor shower will probably peak on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. Follow the links inside to learn more.
Saturn rules this month! And that’s very unusual, because Saturn is the faintest and least noticeable of the bright planets. So why is Saturn top dog in August, 2015? Only because Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter – the other planets visible to the eye alone – all are hiding in the glare of evening or morning twilight throughout this month. Maybe they’re just not wanting to be upstaged by this August’s awesome Perseid meteor shower. Follow the links inside to learn more about August planets.
A planet’s “stationary point” doesn’t mean it stops moving. In space, nothing ever stops moving. Instead, the “stationary point” is an Earth-centered illusion.
How often do we have a Blue Moon in July? For the answer, you have to look to a concept from astronomy and calendar studies, at what’s called the Metonic cycle.
Blue Moon coming! As seen in the photo above by Patrick Casaert, the moon has been waxing to full this week. Patrick used a blue filter to create his moon photo, and if you see the moon in tonight’s sky, you’ll see it’s nearly full … but not at all blue in color. Yet, as the second full moon for the month of July, many will call it a Blue Moon.
Orion the Hunter appears each Northern Hemisphere winter as a mighty constellation arcing across the south during the evening hours. But, before dawn in late July and early August, you can spot Orion in the east. Thus Orion has been called “the ghost of the shimmering summer dawn.” The Hunter rises on his side, with his three Belt stars – Mintaka, Alnitak and Alnilam – pointing straight up.
The Great Square of Pegasus can point you to the constellation Aquarius and to the radiant point of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower.
In a dark, moonless night sky in late July and early August, you can see up to 15 to 20 Delta Aquarid meteors per hour. In 2015, the moon is in the way. Get ready, though. The Delta Aquarids will still be flying at the peak of this year’s Perseid meteor shower, which will be mostly moon-free!
What’s a Double Double star? Ordinary binoculars show you Epsilon Lyrae as two stars in one. But look more closely. A telescope reveals that each of the two stars in the Epsilon Lyrae system is, in itself, a double star. That’s why Epsilon Lyrae is famous for being the Double Double star, a single point of light to the eye that’s really four stars in one. One stellar pair circles around the other stellar pair in an intricate gravitational dance.
The moon is to the north of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion tonight. You can pick out two stars near the moon – in the Tail of the Scorpion – are called Shaula and Lesath. Together, these two represent the Scorpion’s Stinger. Shaula is some 350 light-years away and Lesath is about 500 light-years away