Weymouth Astronomy

The Night Sky - August 2018

The bright Summer Triangle stars Deneb, Vega and Altair dominate the Southern midnight sky. Although it's high summer there are already some signs of Autumn's approach as the hours of darkness start to lengthen. Pegasus and Andromeda fill the eastern sky late on an August night. August also plays host to the Perseid Meteor Shower. The meteor shower's peak will be visible both on the nights of 11th-12th and 12th-13th.

The Night Sky

High Lights of the Month

  • 12-13th (midnight to dawn):Perseid meteor shower maximum
  • 14th (after sunset): Venus below a thin crescent Moon

Noctilucent clouds

Noctilucent clouds Noctilucent clouds also known as polar mesospheric clouds are most commonly seen in the deep twilight towards the north from our latitude. They are the highest clouds in the atmosphere at heights of around 80 km or 50 miles. Normally too faint to be seen they are visible when illuminated by sunlight from below the northern horizon whilst the lower parts of the atmosphere are in shadow. So on a clear dark night as light is draining from the north western sky after sunset take a look towards the north and you might just spot them.


Perseid meteor showerPerseid Meteor Shower

The early morning of the 12th August will give the best chance if clear, of viewing the shower but the peak is quite broad and so it is well worth observing on the nights before and after. Most meteors are seen looking about 50 degrees from the 'radiant' which lies between Perseus and Cassipeia. This year the maximum is only a few days after the New Moon on the 11th so that the Moon will have set.

 

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine