Look up! The Sky Watch for August 2021 features Jupiter and Saturn at opposition appearing bigger and brighter in the night sky. Plus, get ready for the Perseid Meteor Shower to be at its best, thanks to the young Moon and dark skies! Bob Berman shares more information.
Sky Watch for August 2021
by Bob Berman, as featured in The 2021 Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Jupiter and Saturn—the two largest planets in our solar system—both come to opposition this month, making them each optimally bright, big, and out all night.
Venus brightens in the evening twilight, but Mars now drops too low into solar glare, bringing its fine 2-year apparition to an end. On the 11th, look for brilliant Venus below the crescent Moon, which sets early enough to bring full darkness.
Jupiter retrogrades back into Capricornus on the 18th and hovers just above the Moon on the 21st. Telescope users can find the glorious planet Saturn by pointing at the “star” just above the Moon on the 20th.
Image: Jupiter and Saturn are the giants of the summer night sky; if you have a telescope, it’s a great time to look for Saturn’s bright rings and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and moons! Credit: NASA.
Perseid Meteor Showers
Given a young Moon, the Perseid meteors will perform at full glory on August 11 and 12. This is the most watched meteor shower of the year. The post-midnight hours are best for viewing these very fast shooting stars.