Below is a list of dates with notable events for the coming weeks in August 2018
Rises - 551am
Sets - 832pm
Solar eclipse - partial eclipse on 11th August 946am. View from Northern Asia and Europe but here in North Scotland.
Sets - 1030pmTotal eclipse of the Moon : 27th/28th July in the south east. Based on London location, it starts 8.49pm 27th, full eclipse 9.21pm, ends just after midnight 28th. Moon is close to the horizon during the total eclipse so need to observe where the horizon is not obscured.
• Mercury - (-0.2) - Makes a brief appearance very low in the eastern dawn sky just before sunrise. Look for it at about 5am in the last week of August and the first week of September.
• Venus - (-4.5) - Sets about 930pm in the west so just peeps above the horizon in the evenings.
• Mars - (-2.8 to -2.1) - retrogrades slowly eastwards in Capricornus, reaching a stationary point on August 28th just crossing into Sagittarius and then reverses direction.
• Jupiter - (-2.1 to -1.9) - is moving slowly eastwards in Libra and may be glimpsed low in the west early in the month shortly after sunset.
• Saturn - (0.2 to -0.3) - is in Sagittarius throughout August, moving extremely slowly towards the west. The rings of Saturn are well tilted towards Earth in 2018 and are great to look at through telescopes.
• Uranus - (5.8 to 5.7) - reaches a stationary point in Aries on August 8th and begins retrograde motion then.
• Neptune - (7.8) - is farther west in Aquarius.
Perseid Meteor Shower - Begins around 13th July and ends around 26th August with a peak on 11th/12th August when the rate may reach as high as 100 meteors per hour. There is a new moon on 11th/12th August so less light pollution and therefore more favourable viewing conditions. It can be seen coming from Perseus in the north east. The Perseids are debris from comet 109P/SwiftTuttle. Perseid meteors are fast and many of the brighter ones leave persistent trains. Some bright fireballs also occur during the shower.
Alpha Aurigid Meteor Shower - Peaks 28th August. Coming from Auriga in the north east.
The border between Sagittarius and Scorpius marks the direction towards the Galactic Centre (GC) . Seen in the SSW close to Saturn on the 15th August. It is 26000 light years away and there is a super massive black hole here. Watch doomed stars moving around it at www.galacticcenter.astro.ucla.edu/animations.html .
Find a dark spot and watch the Milky Way arching high above. Its appearance is the result of intermixed clouds of stars and dust.
Looking North at 11pm BST on 15th August:
Hercules - W
Corona Borealis - W
Serpens Caput - W
Bootes - Arcturus - W
Virgo - W
Canes Venatici - Cor Caroli - NW
Draco - Thuban - NW to NNE
Ursa Major - Plough - NNW
Ursa Minor - Pole Star (Polaris) - N
Cepheus - NE
Cassiopeia - NE
Auriga - Capella - NE
Perseus - NE
Andromeda - M31 - ENE
Triangulum - ENE
Lacerta - E
Pegasus - E
Pisces - E
Looking South at 11pm BST on 15th August:
Cygnus - Albireo - ESE to S
Delphinus - SE
Aquarius - Sadalmelik, M2, Sadalsud - SE
Vulpecula - SSE
Capricornus - Al Giedi - SSE
Sagitta - S
Aquila - Altair - S
Seutum - M11 - S
Sagittarius - Teapot - S
Lyra - SSW
Serpens Cauda - SW
Ophiuchus - SW
Serpens Caput - SW
Scorpius - Antares - SW
Libra - WSW
Observe Aquarius in the SE. Its 2 brightest stars Sadalmelik and Sadalsud are similar and are yellow super giants just over 500 light years away and moving out of the Milky Way's plane rather than in its rotation. M2 which is 33,000 light years away is a globular cluster.
Never look at the Sun with the naked eye or through binoculars or a telescope as doing this will blind you.