August 2018

Sky Report - August 2018

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

Early August (Aug 1-8)

Local sunrises are about 6:17 a.m. with sunsets about 8:20 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 14.1 hours. Each day, the sun rises about a minute later while the sun sets about a minute earlier each day. Both morning twilight and evening twilight last a little more than an hour. The brilliant planet Venus sets in the West about 10:15 p.m. The bright planet Jupiter is in the South Southwest as darkness falls. At the end of twilight, the orange planet Mars can be seen low in the Southeast in the star group Capricornus. Mars, due to its closeness is even brighter than Jupiter. The planet Saturn is in the South as it gets dark. Saturn is just above the tea pot of Sagittarius. These evening planets appear as points of light but shine steadier than the night stars. The giant planets Jupiter and Saturn show fine detail through telescopes. A modest telescope will show Jupiter’s large moons as tiny stars near the planet. Saturn’s rings can be seen with a telescope magnifying 40 power or more. Mars is more difficult due to its atmosphere that tends to obscure its surface features. On August 4th, the moon appears half full in the southern dawn.

Second Quarter of August (Aug 9-15)

Local sunrises are about 6:23 a.m. with sunsets about 8:16 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13.9 hours. Each day, the sun rises about a minute later while the sun sets about a minute earlier each day. The brilliant planet Venus sets in the West about 10 p.m. The bright planet Jupiter is easy to spot in the Southwest at twilight and is now setting around midnight. The planet Mars with a vivid orange hue is prominent in the Southeast as darkness falls. The moon’s motion causes it to shift from the morning to the evening side of the sun on August 11. On August 14, the crescent moon appears above the brilliant planet Venus in the western dusk. In the evening sky, the very bright star Vega appears nearly overhead in the early evening. Vega is the brightest star in the Summer Triangle, a trio of bright stars that points to the South. In the South in the early evening are two bright zodiac star groups – the Scorpion, resembling a starry ‘J’ and Sagittarius, whose brighter stars form an old fashioned tea kettle to the left of the Scorpion. The planet Saturn appears on top of the tea kettle while Mars is the left of the tea kettle.

Third Quarter of August (Aug 16-23)

Local sunrises are about 6:30 a.m. with sunsets about 8:07 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13.6 hours. Each day, the sun rises about a minute later while the sun sets about a minute earlier each day. The brilliant planet Venus is setting in the West about 9:45 p.m. The bright planet Jupiter appears in the Southwest at dusk and sets about 11:30 p.m. The bright orange planet Mars is seen low in the Southeast as it gets dark. The moon will move over the planet Jupiter; the moon will be to the right of Jupiter on August the 16th and to the left on August 17th. The evening moon will appear half full on August 18th. Along the lighted left edge of the moon, the craters are vividly shown through a telescope on the evenings of August 16th through August 20th. On August 20th, the moon will appear to the right of the planet Saturn. The moon has a double ‘date’ with the planet Mars; it will appear above and to the right of Mars on August 22 and to left of Mars on August 23.

Last Quarter of August (Aug 24-31)

Local sunrises are about 6:38 a.m. with sunsets about 7:55 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13.3 hours. Each day, the sunrises are about a minute earlier while the sunsets are about a minute earlier than the previous day. The moon is fullest on the night of August 25-26, rising at sunset and shining all through the night. The innermost planet Mercury is at its greatest angle to the sun in the Eastern dawn on August 26. The brilliant planet Venus is setting in the West about 9:30 p.m. The bright planet Jupiter, seen in the Southwest at twilight is setting in the West about 11 p.m. The planet Saturn is in the South at dusk. The bright orange planet Mars is vivid in the Southeast at dusk. Mars will be highest in the South before 11 p.m. In the northern evening sky, the Big Dipper with its 7 stars is easy to recognize in the North Northwest. The rightmost stars of the bowl point up and to the right to the North Star, a modest star about half way up in the North.

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Dr. Jason Speights

Director of the MLC
Assistant Professor of Physics

Email: jcspeights@frostburg.edu (preferred)
Phone: 301.687.4339
Office: Gira CCIT 189

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Department of Physics and Engineering
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303

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