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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Mon. Aug. 5 - The thin fingernail paring crescent Moon will be in the vicinity of bright Spica in the constellation Virgo this evening. Look for the star, which at home 262 light years away from us is a close binary star system, to the lower left of our neighbour.

Wed. Aug. 7 - This is First Quarter Moon night. The neatly divided sphere will be on station lowish in the south to ornament the late summer Okanagan evening.

Fri. Aug. 9 - Fleet Mercury will be at greatest western elongation from the Sun early this morning. Look for the innermost planet almost due east as it rises just after the stars of Gemini and ahead of the Sun.

Fri. Aug. 9 - The waxing gibbous Moon will be near bright Jupiter tonight, low in the evening sky above the most northern stars of Scorpius.

Sun. Aug. 11 - The waxing gibbous Moon will visit Saturn low in the southern sky tonight. The ringed planet will be less than the width of three fingers east of Luna in Sagittarius' teapot asterism.

Mon. Aug. 12 – One of the main annual meteor showers, the Perseids, will peak tonight, this time with the waxing gibbous Moon unfortunately playing interference and wiping out some of the fainter members. Though the peak will occur this evening, be sure to look for harbingers the night previous and stragglers the night afterward. This can still be an entertaining show.

Tues. Aug. 13 – It was an important time in ancient Egypt when astronomers, and presumably agriculturists, looked for the first sign of Sirius rising in the east–southeast. In the era of the Egyptian empire it was the signal for the coming of the annual flood of the Nile. In our epoch and location this now takes place about 20 minutes before sunrise around mid August.  If you should wake early and spy the helical rising of the sky’s brightest star, it could be taken as signaling the imminent approach of the Okanagan apple harvest.

Thurs. Aug. 15 - This is Full Moon night with our neighbour practicing for its act as the Harvest Moon in one month's time, rising as majestically as it can manage in the August twilight.

Sat. Aug. 17 - For those wanting to view the outer ice giant Neptune, the just past full Moon can be of some help tonight. Look for the tiny blue disk in a telescope less than the width of three fingers above the Moon's disk.

Wed. Aug. 21 - Tonight the waning gibbous Moon will be in the vicinity of Uranus. Look for it in binoculars or a telescope the width of three fingers above Luna.

Fri. Aug. 23 - This is Last Quarter Moon night. Just after midnight the reverse lit half sphere will rise in the east in the company of the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters.

Sat. Aug. 24 - Just a day off last quarter, the waning Moon will embed itself in the stars of the Hyades cluster in Taurus in the early morning hours. Binoculars or a telescope will reveal a succession of occultations and reappearances of the member stars.

Wed. Aug. 28 – The night sky can offer some remarkably beautiful scenes. Early this morning one of them can be seen… a very thin waning crescent Moon will entangle itself in M44, the Beehive cluster in Cancer. You will need a very low eastern horizon and clear skies.

Fri. Aug. 30 – You can tell we are nearing fall when word spreads that the Zodiacal Light is becoming visible in the pre-dawn sky. While the ZL is  most often mentioned in the spring months when it appears in the western sky, the same applies in fall except that the triangular glow is seen in the pre-dawn eastern sky. The ghostly Zodiacal light arises when the Sun illuminates dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system. Chances of seeing it will be improved by the fact tonight is New Moon night… the heart of this dark sky observing period.