TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – August is typically a great month to look to the night sky. Not only does the Perseid meteor shower peak in the middle of the month, over the next five nights we will watch the moon pass by three of the brighter objects in the night sky, EarthSky.org reports.
Jupiter will not be mistaken each night. EarthSky says it will be the second brightest object in the sky behind the moon. Venus, which is typically the brightest planet, is lost in the sun’s glare throughout August and therefore not visible. Saturn will also be easily discernible as it is also ranked as one of the brightest objects in the night sky this month.
Starting on Thursday night, looking south, the moon will accompany Jupiter and one of our brighter stars in the night sky, Antares. Saturn will be visible but farther off to the east this night. While the moon will rise midday for us in Florida, as the sun sets and dusk arrives, the two planets and Antares will be clearly visible. Jupiter will be significantly brighter than Antares while Antares will still be plenty visible.
On Thursday night, looking south to southwest in the sky from dusk until midnight, EarthSky says you’ll see the waxing gibbous moon near the constellation Libra and, just to the east, both Jupiter and the bright star Antares. Jupiter will be significantly brighter than Antares however, Antares will still be plenty visible.
Friday night, the moon’s position will be closer to Jupiter and Antares, positioned just to the east. EarthSky says you’ll notice an eastward jump each night in the moon’s position as it’s orbit takes it east in the sky.
Saturday night, Saturn will be easier to locate as the moon will now be in between Saturn on the left and Jupiter/Antares on the right, looking south. Moonrise will come later each afternoon and the moon will be fuller and brighter.
Sunday night, the moon will be exceptionally close to Saturn but still just to the right of it. However, EarthSky says you’ll still be able to see all three bright objects, Jupiter and Antares will just be farther back to the west. Besides the moon, Jupiter will be the brightest, Saturn will be slightly dimmer behind Jupiter and Antares will be the least bright of the three.
While the Perseid meteor shower is approaching its peak, most meteors will be washed out by the bright, waxing moon. The best time to see any meteors will be shortly before sunrise, as the moon will set a few hours before leaving a short window of darkness.