Super moon, Perseids and other astronomical interests

    August is a very popular month for astronomical observations - the sky is gradually getting darker, nights are lengthening, but cloudy and rainy autumn has not yet come into its own, and the temperature is still comfortable for being outdoors. What astronomical events await us in the second half of the year?

    Super moon

    Will be: evening of August 10th .
    “Super moon” happens when the full moon falls on the pericenter of the moon’s orbit, i.e. The moon is closest to the earth. The perigee of the Moon is 357 thousand kilometers, the climax is 406 thousand. "Super Moon" is 14% larger and 30% brighter than at the peak. Relative to the "medium" moon, the size is 8% larger, brightness - 13%.

    The magnitude of the moon is amplified by the so-called the illusion of the moon , which is why the low moon seems even larger. So I recommend not to miss today's sight. A super moon happens with an interval of 13 months, the following will be in September 2015.

    There is an excellent video showing the position and other parameters of the moon in 2014:


    Will be: July 17 - August 24 . Maximum: August 12
    Perseids - one of the most famous meteor showers. The convenient appearance time at the end of summer and the high activity of sixty meteors per hour made it very popular. The flow usually lasts from the second half of July to the second half of August. In 2014 - from July 17 to August 24. The maximum usually falls on August 12-13. The trail from the meteor forms a line, if you continue these lines, they intersect in the constellation Perseus. There is the so-called radiant (conditional source point) of the meteor shower. By radiant, meteor showers get their name.

    In reality, the radiant is an effect of perspective. The real source of meteors is the orbit of the Swift-Tutl cometthat the Earth crosses every year. The comet last flew in 1992, its return is expected in 2126, and it will fly quite close to the Earth (23 million km, about 60 orbits of the moon). In 1993, the Perseids were exceptionally plentiful, recorded from 200 to 500 meteors per hour. In the “normal” year, the Perseids show ~ 60 meteors per hour at maximum activity.
    Perseid activity is already beginning, here is a chart according to observers. The picture is from the website of the International Meteor Organization , so it will need to be updated over time:


    This weekend the full moon interferes with its light. The maximum activity occurs on August 12, this is Tuesday. Therefore, it is worth thinking about observations on the next weekend - August 16-17. On Wednesday, you can try to observe from home, taking the correction that the light from the city and the almost full moon will lead to the fact that only very bright meteors will be visible. A little advice - for observing meteors it is better to look not at the radiant, but at 60 ° to the left or right. In this case, more likely to notice meteors.
    If you saw something, a small educational program by the correct names will come in handy: A
    meteoroid is what flies in space and flies into the atmosphere.
    A meteor is a trace of a meteoroid in the atmosphere.
    A car is a very bright meteor (brighter than Venus).
    A meteorite is a meteoroid, or pieces of it falling to the Earth.

    Well, if anyone is too lazy, or the weather has turned bad, you can watch the video:

    Junction of Venus and Jupiter

    Will be: the morning of August 18 .
    The connection in astronomy is the visual drawing together of two celestial bodies. If there are more than two bodies, the term "planet parade" is often used. Jupiter and Venus are very bright objects, and their connection should be quite beautiful. The planets will be very close to each other - at the moment of closest convergence between them there will be only 0.2 °. Look at the time of the sunrise where you are (meteorological sites usually write about this, or use the planetarium program), Venus and Jupiter will be visible in the east shortly before sunrise:

    Rapprochement of Mars and Saturn

    Will be: in the evening of August 27 .
    Less spectacular due to the greater distance (4.5 °), but still quite an interesting event. Saturn and Mars are less bright than Venus and Jupiter and will be quite low above the horizon, this will complicate the observations.


    Bright comets are not expected in the near future. But one comet is currently available for observation through a telescope in the dark sky - C / 2014 E2 Jacques. She does not come close to the Sun - the pericenter of her orbit is a little closer than the orbit of Venus, and will not be very bright. But if you are going out of town with a telescope, think about looking at it. In August and September, it will move along the northeastern part of the sky - the constellations of Perseus, Cassiopeia, Swan.

    The exact location of the comet and map for its search can be found on the Heavens Above website .


    Jupiter will be visible in the morning sky, gradually rising higher together with the constellation Cancer.
    Venus will be visible at the end of summer or beginning of autumn in the morning, and will cease to be visible in the second half of September, to reappear on December evenings.
    Saturn will be visible in the evenings until October and will appear again already in the December morning.
    Mars is moving away from us and will be visible as a gradually weakening star in the evening sky.

    Star clusters and nebulae

    Andromeda's nebula

    August and September are a great time to observe the Andromeda Nebula. The farther from the city and the darker the sky, the more you can see. In the middle of the night she will be almost at its zenith. The higher the object, the less the atmosphere will interfere. You can find it by the constellations of Andromeda and Cassiopeia:

    Visually, of course, it will be visible to yourself:

    But with the help of photographic equipment and labor, you can get real masterpieces (photo of the Syktyvkar astroclub ):


    The Pleiades is an open star cluster visible to the naked eye. In August, they are visible in the east in the morning and every day they will rise higher.

    Visually, they look like a few dots (or like a foggy spot in poor conditions due to haze or exposure). I came across people who in the Pleiades saw a UFO flying in formation, so even a minimum of astronomical literacy is a useful thing. In fact, these are nearby stars at a distance of 440 light-years from Earth. Photographic equipment shows that they are clearly blue, and there are nebulae near the stars (photo by Lisin from ):

    Day nursery

    This year, thanks to Jupiter, it will be easy to detect an open cluster of Nursery. With the naked eye in a dark sky it will be seen as a foggy speck:

    But already with a telescope the spectacle becomes much more beautiful (photo by Fomalhaut from ):

    Great Orion Nebula

    Winter is imperceptibly approaching, and in the morning the constellation of Orion becomes visible. So far, the conditions are poorly suited for observing the Orion nebula, which is now hiding in the morning dawn:

    But gradually the constellation will rise higher, and astrophotographers will be able to take wonderful photographs (photo by Lisin from ):

    For navigation:
    Astronomy with the naked eye .
    The choice of a telescope .
    Retrofitting a telescope .

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