August may be the best month of 2022 for skywatchers to see a supermoon, bright planets, and falling meteors. The major attraction is the Perseid meteor showers.
It’s a transition time for the planets. Jupiter and Saturn will now be visible in the evening sky. And Venus will be closer to the sun.
Mercury is at its highest point above the horizon this month. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
The last of 3 Supermoons comes into view in August. And it coincides with the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Although the night sky will be brighter you will still be able to see the meteors.
Perseid meteor showers
The Perseids have been active since July 17th and will last until August 26th. And the peak time to view them in the night sky burning up as they enter the earth’s atmosphere is August 11th through the 13th.
During the peak days, up to 60 to 80 meteors an hour, will streak through the sky.
The space dust and meteors are produced by a comet named “Swift-Tuttle.” And were discovered by astronomers in 1862.
The meteoric activity is generated in the Northeast sky with the radiant point close to the Perseus constellation. It has a distinctive shape. It is surrounded by bright stars in the Andromeda to the west, Cassiopeia to the North, and Capella constellation on the east side.
The Supermoon shines bright
The August Supermoon is also known as the Sturgeon Moon. It was named by the Native American tribes for the sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes. It has also been called the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.
A Supermoon is a full moon that coincides with a perigee when the Earth’s orbit is closest to the moon. And it makes the Moon appear brighter and larger than a normal full moon. A supermoon can show up as much as 14% larger and 30% brighter.
Keep your binoculars handy on August 11th and 12th.
- August 1st The month begins with Mars in conjunction with Uranus. And it will pass 1.4° to its south.
- August 11th Supermoon alert! Expect the Full Sturgeon Moon to brighten the night sky.
- August 12th and 13th This is the peak of the annual Perseid meteor showers. The bright light of the Supermoon may make some of the meteors more difficult to see.
Try to avoid looking directly at the supermoon when viewing the meteor showers. You need your eyes adapted to the dark as much as possible. Look for streaks in the nighttime sky starting at 10 p.m. till dawn.