August Solar Watch

August 8. 2016

As Summer comes to a close, the Fall season brings with it many celestial sights you won’t want to miss. View plants simultaneously, catch a meteor shower, and grab your telescope to get an up-close look of Jupiter. Mark your calendars, because here are a few exciting solar events to watch out for before the kids go back to school: August 11: According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars, Saturn, and the moon will be highest in the southwest sky on this day. Grab your telescope to peek dwarf Pluto  in the southern sky after sunset. August 12: The Perseid Meteor Shower is best viewed early in the morning before the moon sets. Keep an eye out for Perseid meteors on the days leading up to the shower. After August 14: View Uranus, Neptune, and dwarf planets Ceres before dawn after the second week in August.You may see Uranus through binoculars but Neptune and Ceres require a telescope. August 23, 24: Catch Mars, Saturn and 1st-magnitude star Antares as they hover in a vertical line as darkness falls in the south-southwest sky. Mars will shine brightest in the middle, with beautifully ringed Saturn just above it. Below is Antares, recognized by its reddish light. August 27: A view you won’t want to miss, Venus and Jupiter will have their closest conjunction in nearly half a century on this night. Around sunset, the planets will come near each other low above the western horizon. For a moment in the night sky you can put your thumb up over both planets. Plus, you can see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with a telescope. End your summer on a high note by viewing the splendors of our solar system! You can view many of these sights from the Space Coast, your gateway to the universe. Plan a viewing party at the Exploration Tower or visit Kennedy Space Center to learn more about the constellations and planets you’ll be seeing this month.