August Night Sky
Sky events for this month & objects for observation can be found here.
Click to enlarge. A larger printable version of this chart can also be found here.
PLANETS FOR AUGUST
In the chart above for mid-August, the colored arrows show the motion of each planet and the Sun during the month. The Moon is plotted for the evening dates in the Americas when it's waxing (right side Illuminated) or full, and for the morning dates when it's waning (left side illuminated). Sky & Telescope.
SATURN AND JUPITER
This month the Solar System's two largest planets lie opposite from the Sun in the night sky - otherwise known as "opposition." This also means they are closest to the Earth as it orbits the Sun, and bright. In a telescope one can observe Jupiter's cloud belts and moons, and Saturn displays its magnificent ring system - truly one of the most beautiful things you can see in a telescope.
PESREID METEOR SHOWER
The Peseid meteors stream from a "radiant" in the constellation of Perseus, just near the W of Cassiopeia. Most of these meteors are only as big as grains of sand to small pebbles - remnants from comet Swift/Tuttle. When the Earth's orbit intersects the orbit of the comet, these fragments slam into the atmosphere at about 60 kilometers (37 miles) per second, vaporize in a bright cloud of ionized gas, and we get one of the best "meteor showers" of the year.
This year the peak of the Perseid meteor shower is on the nights of August 11-13, and will have ideal conditions with the crescent Moon safely tucked below the horizon when evening twilight ends. With no extraneous moonlight to mar the view, this years shower should be one of the best. Up to 100 meteors per hour will flare from the darkest skies, but 60-80 per hour is a more realistic number for most observers. Meteors are best observed after midnight when the Earth's rotation brings them head-on into the atmosphere.
Be sure to find a safe rural spot away from city lights with an open sky with few if any obstructions to block the view of the sky, dress warmly, and relax in a chair or recliner. This guide has more details of what will provide the most enjoyable experience.
Adapted from Sky & Telescope