Sky Events For August 2015

Moon Phases

Thursday, August 6, 10:03 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around midnight and sets around 3 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Friday, August 14, 10:53 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Saturday, August 22, 3:31 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around noon and sets around midnight. It dominates the evening sky.

Saturday, August 29, 2:35 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The August Full Moon is known as the Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, or Grain Moon. It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Observing Highlights

Uranus and the Moon

Wednesday/Thursday, August 5/6, dawn

The Moon will be close to Uranus just before sunrise. In southern South America, the Falkland Islands, and parts of Antarctica, the Moon will actually occult Uranus.

Mercury and Jupiter within 0.6 degrees

Thursday, August 6, dusk

Mercury and Jupiter will pass close to each other, appearing within the same telescope field.

Mercury, Jupiter and Regulus within 1 degree

Friday, August 7, dusk

These three bright objects will form a tight triangular pattern low in the western sky after sunset.

Aldebaran and the Moon

Saturday, August 8, early morning

The waning crescent moon will pass close to the bright red star Aldebaran low in morning twilight. The Moon will occult Aldebaran as seen from the Middle East, eastern Europe, northwestern Asia, Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and northwestern Canada.

Jupiter and Regulus within 0.5 degrees

Monday, August 10, dusk

Jupiter will pass just north of the bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo.

Perseid meteor shower peaks

Thursday, August 13, 2 a.m.

The Perseid meteor shower is always the most reliable in the year, and this year benefits from having the moon out of the sky for most of the night. Although Perseid meteors can be seen at any time of night, there are always more meteors after midnight because then the Earth is heading directly into the shower. Although they appear to radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, they can be seen anywhere in the sky.

Mars in the Beehive

Thursday, August 20, before dawn

Mars, just past conjunction with the sun, passes in front of the Beehive Cluster, Messier 44.

Moon close to perigee

Saturday, August 29, 8 p.m. local time

The moon will be closest to the Earth at 11 a.m. on August 30, 222,631 miles or 358,290 km. distant. The moon will be below the horizon at that time for observers in North America. The best time to observe this “supermoon” will be just after it rises on Saturday night, August 29. Those living near the ocean should expect higher tides than normal for the next few days.


Mercury is visible low in the western sky after sunset for most of the month, This apparition is more favorable for observers in the Southern Hemisphere.

Venus moves from the evening to the morning sky on the 15th, but will be hard to observe for northern observers because of its closeness to the sun. Southern observers will have an easier time, and on the 15th may actually be able to observe Venus as a morning star in the east and an evening star in the west.

Mars reappears in dawn twilight after its conjunction with the sun on June 14.

Jupiter is too close to the sun to observe this month.

Saturn is well placed in Libra in the evening sky.

Uranus rises in the late evening in Pisces. 

Neptune rises in the mid-evening in the constellation Aquarius.