Title: August Skywatch Highlights
Location: Hawaiian Islands
Date / Time: August 2013
Comments: Behold our spectacular summer skies! Glorious bands of Milky Way stars illuminate our dark Hawaiian sky with a rich, "milky" haze. High in the northern sky, the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle are easy to spot: ALTAIR, in Aquila the Eagle; VEGA, in Lyra the Harp; & DENEB, in Cygnus the Swan. Scorpius, the giant Scorpion, & Sagittarius, the Archer, display boldly toward the south. As the sky starts to darken, VENUS appears as a brilliant "evening star." (Hoku Kauahiahi). Currently at magnitude minus -3.9, it is spectacular high in the western sky at sunset! Despite its increasing elongation from the Sun, Venus moves mostly southward along the horizon & not higher in the sky each night. (Sets around 9PM throughout the month). Venus treks across the constellation Virgo this month, heading for a conjunction with Spica (Virgo's brightest star), around Sept. 5th. Virgo currently harbors another planet: beautiful SATURN , which resides at the far eastern end of this constellation. As twilight starts to fade, Saturn becomes prominent in the southwestern sky. Saturn continues to make a nice triangle with two bright stars, Arcturus (Hokule'a) and Spica. Blue-white Spica, to the lower right (SW) of Saturn, is a little dimmer than Saturn. Arcturus, to the upper right (NW) of Saturn, is a yellow star, brighter than both Saturn and Spica. Saturn's magnificent rings open wider than they've been since 2006, tilting at 17? to our line of sight from Earth, & afford impressive views through even a small telescope. The brightest of the morning planets is JUPITER, blazing at magnitude minus -2.0 at mid-month. The gas giant lies among the background stars of Gemini, & climbs higher with each passing day. By the end of August, Jupiter rises just after 2AM & is halfway up in the east at daybreak. As Jupiter rises in the east, it is just to the left of Orion the Hunter. MARS appears only 5? from Jupiter in early August, but the gap grows to nearly 20? by the end of the month. The Red Planet, at magnitude 1.8, crosses from Gemini into Cancer during the final week of August, & appears 5? west of the Beehive star cluster (M44) at month's end. For an August Hawaiian sky map, visit Bishop Museum Planetarium www.bishopmuseum.org/planetarium (bishopmuseum.org).

Maintained by Roz Reiner - Kauai, Hawaii

 

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