August Is Loaded with Great Stargazing Events, Including the Year's Best Meteor Shower
Gas giants and the Perseid meteor shower headline the show in the sky this month.
July was a little slower for stargazing experiences, especially after the eclipse-heavy months that preceded it.
August is going to be able to compete with any month. Sure, you can argue it's always up there simply because of the beautiful summer evenings for stargazing. But the real attraction this month is the showstopping Perseid meteor shower, arguably the best meteor shower of the year. You'll find that hitting its peak on the night of August 11. But there's much more than the Perseids taking place this month, including lots of opportunities to look out for Saturn and Jupiter.
Here are all the stargazing events you won't want to miss this month.
August 10-11: Venus and the Crescent Moon Get TogetherIn the western sky just after sunset on August 10, you'll spot the crescent moon about a palm's width held at arm's distance away from Venus, the brightest planet in the night sky. The following night, you'll see the moon close as well, but it's just a touch further away to the upper left of the planet, as seen above.
August 11-12: The Best Meteor Shower of the Year ArrivesThe Perseids are one of two meteor showers that reliably put on a hell of a good show. That will definitely be the case in 2021, according to Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.
The Perseids arrive with great weather and the potential to produce up to 100 meteors an hour. It's also a display that's rich in fireballs, which are meteors that burn brightly as they crash through Earth's atmosphere. Go out around 11 pm on August 11. That's when you'll start to see a good number of meteors streaking across the sky. "You'll also have good rates on the night of August 12," Cooke notes. "Personally, though, I'd go out on the night of August 11."