SkyDiary
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Find out what’s up in the night sky:
Upcoming astoronomical events, interesting observations, packed with everything a stargazer needs to know.

Observations are described for the NORTHERN hemisphere and can be made by naked eye, small binoculars or by small telescope.

August 2018

Phases of the Moon

Last Quarter:August 4
New Moon:August 11
First Quarter:August 18
Full Moon:August 26

Mars Observation: Great perihelic opposition 2018

At the end of June and beginning of July, it started a big dust storm on Mars. Dust clouds could be visually observed as bright yellow patches on the surface, best seen with a red filter. The dust quickly spread across almost the whole planet and altered also the southern polar cap (SPC). I tried to observe the planet on July 25 with my small refractor (diameter 80mm), but I could recognize neither any black features nor the SPC - I saw just an orange disk. Hopefully, the dust will set down and more will be seen on the planet's surface, but this process can be quite slow and take even several weeks. Moreover, Mars is quite low on the sky now, after the opposition, which was on July 27. The planet now moves from Capricorn to Sagittarius in August, so it is best seen around locate midnight when it culminates. The more south you live, the higher is the planet at its culmination.

Article by (C) G. Okša