Starwatch: the August night sky

Sunday, July 29, 2012 - 17:00 in Astronomy & Space

All the naked-eye planets are on show this month, but none is in the sky at our sky chart times. As so often happens, though, August's highlight is the Perseids meteor shower which is already under way, albeit at a low level, and builds to a peak on the 12th before petering out by the 24th. Its bright swift meteors, some leaving glowing trains in their wake, streak in all parts of the sky but diverge from a radiant point in Perseus which climbs through our NE and E sky overnight.The shower's peak, when up to 100 Perseids per hour might be seen under ideal conditions, is due during daylight in Europe. Even so, we can expect lower but respectable rates on the nights of 11th/12th and 12th/13th. The Moon is a not-too-obtrusive waning crescent during the latter half of the night.Saturn, mag 0.8, stands above Spica in Virgo low...

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