A night sky is a wonderful thing to look at, isn’t it? It’s the same sky which Copernicus used to gaze at thinking are we really the center of the universe? It’s the same sky Galileo used to gaze at with the telescope, discovering planets and their moons. And it’s the same sky you can look out of right now and see the planet Saturn.
And that is just one of the few amazing things which you’ll be witnessing in the night sky. August promises to be an exciting month for sky-watchers as there’s so much to choose from. In case you’ve dished your binoculars, or there’s some dust settled on your telescope. It’s time to get them in working condition because the night sky is not to miss in the month of August. Want to know which amazing cosmic events you could witness?
You can see the planet Saturn.
Saturn is one of those planets which always intrigued us as a kid, especially the rings part. The rings of Saturn are so beautiful that it sparked the imagination of a generation, a generation which finally was able to send a spacecraft to explore them (more on that later). So if you want to see Saturn in the night sky, go and look at the yellow tinged star near the moon. That isn’t a star, that’s Saturn!
This is just one of the few amazing things you can notice in the night sky in the month of August. We at WittyFeed would like to present to you 7 other such instances.
#7 Partial lunar eclipse – August 7
On August 7th some lucky viewers would be able to witness lunar eclipse as the northern part of Earth would be casting a shadow on the moon. The entire event will unfold over a span of two hours and while most of Europe and Africa would be able to witness the phenomenon immediately after sunset, the best places to be in would be India and China where the eclipse would peak during late hours, covering half the moon’s disk.
#6 Perseid meteor shower – August 12
Had this been the year 1600, you would’ve been running to your house claiming that it’s doomsday. Thankfully we’re in 2017 and know that the raging fireballs visible in the night sky of August 12 would be nothing but a meteor shower. But hey, that doesn’t undermine the spectacle. The iconic August meteor shower would peak on August 12 and if you want to catch the spectacle, the pre dawn hours, where the moon isn’t at its full brightness would make a perfect time to watch.
#5 Moon and Aldebaran – August 16
On August 16, the moon would be very closed to the star Aldebaran. In case you’re wondering what’s so special about Aldebaran you came at the right place. The star Aldebaran is a whopping 65 light years away and represents the eye of the mythical Taurus. So if you want to see the origins of astrology, and want to take a guess what our ancestors thought while looking at the star, August 16th is our best option.
#4 Venus and moon – August 19
The planet Venus or otherwise known as the goddess of love, sex, beauty to the Romans would be very close to the crescent moon in the night sky of August 19, presenting a spectacular – once in a lifetime photo opportunity. We’ve already got our cameras ready, have you?
#3 Total solar eclipse – August 21
In case you’ve not heard, the United States would be graced with a total solar eclipse on August 21 which would stretch inside a 70-mile corridor from Oregon to South Carolina. The moon would be covering the entire disk of the sun and would bring opportunities for researchers in the USA to research the effects of this phenomenon closely.
#2 Jupiter and moon – August 25
On August 25, the second brightest object in the night sky – Jupiter would pair up with the brightest object in the sky – the moon to present a spectacular opportunity to photographers to get that perfect shot. In case you didn’t know that the second brightest sky in the night sky was Jupiter, we just told you, you’re welcome.
#1 Saturn and moon – August 30
For the second time this month, the moon and Saturn would be pairing up in the night sky. Look at the night sky on August 30 and the moon would be posing with Saturn and as you’re gazing that, remember that the Cassini spacecraft would be preparing for its suicide dive into Saturn.
Cassini’s suicide dive
After touring the planet Saturn for more than 13 years, the Cassini is running out of fuel and would be pulling off one spectacular maneuver before diving into planet Saturn, trying to keep its antenna facing towards our planet and finally disengaging into a fireball.
We bid farewell to Cassini
So we bid adieu to the spacecraft which over the years helped us uncover many mysteries of the planet Saturn’s rings and its moons. The spectacular grand finale would unfold on 15th September and would be remembered by astrophysicists and sky-watchers as the day, the Cassini transmitted its final message to Earth. Thank you, Cassini.