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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.


Sat. Aug. 1 -  Summer fireworks will take place in the night sky tonight as the waxing gibbous Moon teams up with both Jupiter and Saturn low in the southern sky on the east side of Sagittarius. Talk about lighting up the night!

Mon. Aug. 3 - This is Full Moon night which finds Luna shining down on the Okanagan from the stars of Capricornus low in the southern sky.

Sun. Aug. 9 - The waning gibbous Moon will rise after midnight tonight in the company of Mars which is rapidly brightening as it heads toward its opposition on October 13.

Mon. Aug. 10 - For those who would like to observe Uranus, the waning gibbous Moon will provide a fingerpost to the ice giant tonight. Binoculars will reveal it as a 6th magnitude 'star' just over the width of two fingers north of our neighbour, while a telescope will show a tiny light green disk.

Tues. Aug. 11 – One of the main annual meteor showers, the Perseids, will peak tonight. While the Last Quarter moon will flood out the fainter members after midnight and into the wee hours Wednesday, there will be the opportunity to catch as many 'shooting stars' as possible earlier in the evening. Since the Perseids is an extended shower, it would be worthwhile to take advantage of any clear night before or after this date as well to enjoy one of the meteor highlights of the year.

Thurs. Aug. 13 - As it moves further toward the pre dawn sky, the waning crescent Moon will rise between the horns of Taurus early this morning. Only the width of two fingers will separate Luna from bright Aldebaran.

Fri. Aug. 14 – 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 our Okanagan apple harvest.

Sat. Aug. 15 - As dawn begins to brighten the sky this morning the brilliant pairing of a thin crescent Moon and Venus will provide a striking combination in the eastern sky.

Tues. Aug. 18 - This is New Moon night with our companion out of the way in the heart of the dark sky period, providing an opportunity to explore deep sky objects including the treasure trove which is sprinkled along the Milky Way which now extends down the southern night sky.

Tues. Aug. 25 - This is First Quarter Moon night with the glories of late summer in the Okanagan being illuminated by our neatly divided neighbour. Nearby will be the brilliant super giant Antares in Scorpius, low in the southwestern sky.

Thurs. Aug. 27 - Tonight the waxing gibbous Moon will again form a congo line with Jupiter and Saturn low along the southern night sky.

Fri. Aug. 28 - The party is on! Luna has now moved amongst Jupiter and Saturn forming an attractive triangle to ornament the late summer sky.

Sun. 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.