Sunday, August 1, 2010

Evening planet triangle and Moon-free Perseids main sights in August

The planets Venus, easy even under adverse conditions, i.e. a high northern latitude plus haze, Saturn and Mars are moving closer together in the early evening sky this month, even forming an equilateral triangle at one point. Already in late July the latter two had been close together; before the three planets had formed a long line: pictures of July 31 (more, more), July 30 (more, more, more), July 29, July 21 (more) and July 5. The triangular show is also explained here, here and here while this, this, this, this and this page preview other August events.
  • August 5: The three planets form a 'perfect triangle', fitting into a 10x50 binocular FOV if necessary.

  • August 7: Mercury in greatest Eastern elongation at 27° - but still hardly visible from mid-Northern latitudes.

  • August 8: Venus & Saturn just 3° apart.

  • August 12/13: Maximum night of the Perseids, as previewed here, here, hier and here. The rate can be tracked here, and there'll be another "MeteorWatch", hopefully less noisy & more useful than last year.

  • August 13: The young crescent Moon, 3 days old, joins the planet triangle.

  • August 17: Venus at half phase.

  • August 19: Venus & Mars 2° apart.

  • August 20: Venus at greatest elongation, 46°.
In other news more images and reports from the 11 July total solar eclipse have come in: from Hao & Hikeru (Baily's Beads in detail; more from Hao here, here, here and hier, plus a video), Anaa (more), Tatakoto (more, a video [edited!], another one and a telescope donation), the Aranui 3, the Paul Gauguin (an edited video), Rapa Nui (from this story; more), Chile (partial) and Patagonia (best hi-res pics; more [more], more, more [50+ pics by yours truly] and more). • The Sun has just unleashed a CME at Earth, also reports on 'space quakes', SDO's flare stats and achievements, the SUMI flight, the shrinking thermosphere and alleged solar cycle effects. • Pictures of Jupiter & Io and Uranus & its satellites - and Neptune is back to where it was discovered.

• The trail of comet 10P exceeded 20° (from here), and pictures of spacecraft target/fall sky show 103P/Hartley 2 from July 23, July 22 and July 4. • A Phoenix fireball, SDA over Singapur, and a meteorite fall during a cricket match (more). • More on the fresh Kamil crater & meteorites here, here, here, here, hier, hier und hier; also a press release on the C/2010 A2 mystery. • Observations of the stellar occultation by Roma with automated stations, and Keck AO observations of multiple asteroids. • this press release w/o new data but probably linked to this mission candidate caused lots of unnecessary headlines, as discussed here, here, here, here, here and hier. • Also speculations on Trojans & comets, it's mid-eclipse time for Eps Aur, and nice NLC pics come from Sweden and Finland.

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