Night Sky for August 2023: Planets, Stars, and the Moon

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stargazing with binoculars
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Tonight's night sky for the month of August

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What’s in tonight’s night sky for August 2023? It’s a month with two full Moons, a fantastic year for the great Perseid Meteor Showers, and planet Saturn at its very brightest. Learn more from Bob Berman, the longtime astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Two Full Moons for August 2023

August’s full Sturgeon Moon reaches its peak on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. This is the first of two Full Moons for August. It can be referred to as a ‘super Moon’ because the moment of Full Moon occurs with two days of perigee (when the Moon is the closest to the Earth in its orbit. Learn more about supermoons.

Wednesday, August 30 brings a second full Moon for August, colloquially called a “Blue Moon.” This will be the fourth of four supermoons in a row, and the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year!

Learn more about the full Moons of August, how they got their name, and best days by the Moon in our August Moon Guide.

August Planet Watch

Venus and Jupiter have both dropped into the solar glare, ending their lengthy reigns as evening stars. Mercury remains just above the horizon in the western evening twilight at magnitude 0. Mars, six times fainter than Mercury, hovers above it. 

  • August 9: The Moon forms a predawn conjunction with Jupiter.
  • August 18: A Farewell to Mars (a literary allusion based on the planet being an anagram of “Arms”) is screened this evening, when the crescent Moon meets the soon-to-vanish Red Planet. Both are extremely low in the west.
  • August 20: Venus rises before dawn to become a morning star in the coming months. 
  • August 24: The First Quarter Moon, the season’s best for observing lunar features telescopically, hovers to the right of the famous red supergiant Antares, the alpha star of Scorpius.
  • August 27: Saturn arrives at opposition, its brightest of the year at magnitude +0.4. That’s about as bright as a moderately bright star that you might see in the Big Dipper, and appears a pale yellow. Saturn now rises at sunset and remains out all night. 
  • August 28: Venus, having just moved from an evening to a morning star at mid-month, has now brightened to a dazzling magnitude -4.5 and is an eye-catching spectacle at 5:30 AM. (Remember, the lower the magnitude, the brighter the star.)
  • August 30: Saturn hovers just above the Full Moon after nightfall. As Saturn’s at its best, it’s now easiest to identify with the Moon as a guide.

See planet rise and set times for your location.

Perseid Meteor Shower

August 11/12/13: The great Perseid Meteor Shower will have excellent dark sky viewing conditions, since the peak is close to the new Moon (i.e., no moonlight to interfere!). The Perseids deliver a meteor a minute in dark cloudless skies. These shooting stars are best seen after midnight. Learn all about the Perseids.

Summer Stargazing

The Summer Triangle still shines bright and high in the evening sky! Just look to the East and up! See our free star chart and have fun spotting the three bright stars of the Summer triangle!

The Summer Triangle is bright even in many city skies. 
Credit: NASA.
About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman

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