In the Sky this Month for SWFL.
If you are new to the night sky, and have an Android device, such as a tablet or phone, you can find a free app in the Google Play Store, called Sky Map. Sky Map will help you locate objects in the night sky.
In the Sky this Month
In the Sky for August Rise & set times of planets are in local time for Ft. Myers, FL ,(26.6°N, 81.9°W).
Local sunrise on the 1st is at 6:52 a.m. (69°ENE), and sunset is at 8:15 pm 291°WNW) Local sunrise on the 31 st is at 7:06 a.m. (80°E), and sunset is at 7:47 pm (280°W)
August starts with 13 hours, 22 minutes of daylight and ends with 12 hours, 41 minutes.
Information is from above as well as Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazine and SkyMania.com
Moon: Full – 3rd Last Quarter – 11th Apogee – 9 th; New – 19th Perigee – 21st 1st Quarter – 25th. On the 1st, it sets at 4:44 a.m. (243°WSW), and rises at 7 p.m. (117°ESE).
On the 31st, set time is 5:30 a.m. (248°WSW), and rise time is 7:15 p.m. (110°ESE).
Mercury (pre-dawn to dawn, in Gemini, moving toward Leo) is near the horizon at dawn in early August and is at superior conjunction on the 17th.
On the 1st, at -0.8 magnitude, it rises at 5:39 a.m. (66°ENE), then sets at 7:12 p.m. (294°W).
By the end of August, at a brightness of -0.6, it rises at 8:06 a.m. (85°E). It follows the Sun, setting at 8:24 p.m. (275°W), having moved into Leo during the month. On the 31st its disk is 5” across, down from 6” on the 1st.
Venus (pre-dawn to dawn, East, in Taurus) On the 1st, it rises at 3:41 a.m. just over 68°E, and sets at 5:02 p.m. (308°W). Its brightness is a standout -4.3 and nearly 27”
wide. On the 31st, it rises at 3:46 a.m. (68°E) and sets just after 5 p.m. (292° W), with a diameter just over 10.
Mars (late night – dawn, South, in Pisces) On the 1st, at magnitude -1.1, it rises at 11:49 p.m. and sets at 12:05 p.m. (noon, on the 2nd).
On the 31st, at magnitude -1.8, it rises at 10:19 p.m. and sets at 10:44 a.m. the next morning. Its disk size increases from < 15” to nearly 19” for the month. Jupiter (dusk/early evening – early morning, Southeast, in Sagittarius), was in opposition on July 14th and is still in retrograde. The largest planet is at magnitude of about -2 ½ nearly all month.
It starts the month with a diameter of 47.36” and ends at 44.36”.
On the 1st, it rises at 6:57 p.m. and sets about 5:20 a.m. the next morning. On the 31st, it rises at 4:50 p.m. and sets the next morning about 3:15 a.m. It is about 8° to the right of Saturn, just above the Moon, the three being clear in the Southeast sky around an hour after sunset.
Saturn (dusk/early evening – early morning, Southeast, in Sagittarius), was in opposition on July 20th and is still in retrograde.
Saturn’s brightness decreases a bit from 0.2 to 0.3.
Its disk size decreases from 18.44” to 17.99 during August, and the rings are still an impressive 42”. On the 1st, it rises at 7:26 p.m. and sets a few minutes of 6 a.m. the next
On the 31st, it rises at 7:26 p.m. and sets around 6 a.m.
Uranus: (midnight – dawn, in Aries) At the beginning of August, it rises at < 10 minutes before 1 a.m. and sets at 1:45 p.m., though not visible in daylight. At the end of August it will be up about 10:47 p.m. and will set in the noon time daylight. It comes up an hour to ½ hour after Mars this month. Neptune: (late night – dawn, in Aquarius) On the 1st, it rises at 10:20 p.m. and sets about 10 a.m. On the 31st, it rises at 8:20 p.m. and sets during the 8 a.m. daylight.
Note that it comes up the same time as Mars this month.
International Space Station: The ISS is visible from August 1-9 (moving from W→NNE, on the 1st, and WNW→S on the 9th) about altitude 10° during the evening, with magnitudes from
about -1 to -3.6. It is also visible from the 21st (moving from S → ENE) through the 25th (moving from WNW→NW) in the predawn hours from 10° to 43° (on the 24th) at magnitudes -1
to -3.8 (23rd). It then appears for more than a minute at magnitude -1.8 on the 26th at 23° altitude in the northern sky around 5:17 a.m., moving to the NE. See this link for specific times
and routes for the ISS: http://www.heavens-above.com
Hubble Space Telescope: will be visible from the 4th through the end of August. It appears in the predawn hours from the 4th through the 16th moving generally S → E, or W → N, anywhere from 10° to 40° altitude. On the 17th & 18th, it starts quite high, at 58° & 82°, respectively, moving WNW→E on the 17th and stays in the ENE on the 18th, down to 10°
It’s also brighter on these days at magnitude 0.7. See this link for specific times and routes for the HST: http://www.heavens-above.com
Comets and Asteroids: See this link for specific times and routes for brightest observable comets and asteroids: http://www.heavens-above.com. Links to finder charts
are also available.
The Heavens Above website has added comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE to its “live sky view” [https://www.heavens-above.com/skyview/?lat=26.6406&lng=-
81.8723&cul=en#/livesky for our location].
Its brightness is about 2.8, in Coma Berenices, 54° from the Sun in the WNW at 58° altitude on the 1st (0.815 AU from the Earth).
On the 31st, it is just less than 57° from the Sun in Virgo (WSW), 27° altitude (RA, Decl = 14h 24.6m, -3° 3’).
The distance from the Earth will be 1.716 AU. This comet’s orbital period is nearly 7,000 years.
The other currently visible comets range from brightness 8.5 down to 15.8 (C/2020 K8 Catalina-ATLAS & F5 Master).
The brightest asteroid, 4 Vesta, will be magnitude 8.1 in Gemini, RA = 7h 51m, Decl = 21°
34’, 3.4 AU from the Earth. By the 31st, it is in Cancer, 3.3AU from the Earth, magnitude 8.3, at RA = 8h 46m, Decl = 19° 17’. Its orbital period is 3.63 years.
International Space Station:
The Hubble Space Telescope will be visible from the 4th through the end of August. It appears in the predawn hours from the 4th through the 16th moving generally S → E, or W → N, anywhere from 10° to 40° altitude. On the 17th & 18th, it starts quite high, at 58° & 82°, respectively, moving WNW→E on the 17th and stays in the ENE on the 18th, down to 10° each day. It’s also brighter on these days at magnitude 0.7. See this link for specific times and routes for the HST: http://www.heavens-above.com