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2011:  Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun 


This month, Venus passes Saturn, while Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune continue their retrograde motion.

Run these links as often as you like, and keep an eye on CELESTIA's clock at top right.  And remember: you can use the J, K and L keys respectively to reverse, slow down and speed up time in CELESTIA.

MERCURY: 2010 Aug

Near the start of the month's fourth week, Mercury "goes retrograde" below the hind feet of Leo  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1).

VENUS: 2010 Aug

As if it is now racing Mars, Venus continues eastward and enters Virgo.  Along the way it passes slow-moving Saturn.  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)

MARS: 2010 Aug

Having just passed Saturn at the end of last month, Mars continues moving to the east for all of August and remains in Virgo as Venus passes by  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1).


Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune continue their retrograde motion in August.  Jupiter and Uranus remain in Pisces, while Neptune "slides" back into Capricornus  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1).

SATURN: 2010 Aug

In western Virgo, east-moving Saturn (having been passed by Mars at the end of July) is overtaken and passed by Venus  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1).


The following will help you enjoy this page's many links that run events directly in CELESTIA.  If you're new to the program, these tips will also help you learn to use it.

You'll find more information about many of CELESTIA's controls on our  Learning Center  page.



To view this video in a larger size, click here.


A huge thanks to all who have reported their sightings from around the world!  Skywatcher "rylze" observed 66 meteors in 2½ hrs in Dorset, England, and that included four at the same time!  The viewer "TheGAA99" reported seeing 20 in one hour in Washington State!

This year there were many reports of larger meteors that left distinct trails!  Skywatcher "syntasticfan" reported seeing one that broke up into three pieces!  What a treat that must have been!

Initial reports seem to confirm that this year the Perseids' peak coincided nicely with predictions.  But don't forget that you may still see a pretty good number of meteors for the next few nights.  In fact, just a little while ago, observer "ipodnazar" reported seeing a very nice one in a north-south trajectory, although the location was not specified.  So, if you have clear skies for the next few nights, you may still be in for a treat.

May all of your viewing be joyous!



Here are the Sun's positions along the Ecliptic at 00:00 UTC on the days shown.

The slightly curved lines above and below the Ecliptic show the extent of the Zodiac, which you may download from our  Bonuses  page and add to any version of CELESTIA.  Note that the curve in the Zodiac lines is the result of CELESTIA's rendering in perspective.

W A R N I N G !     It is never safe to look directly at the real Sun with the naked eye!  Moreover, looking at it through a telescope or binoculars—even for an instant—can cause permanent blindness!  NEVER DO IT!  Consult the professionals at your local planetarium or observatory to learn how you can safely "observe" the Sun and any SOLAR eclipse!

Of course, you can safely view CELESTIA's depiction of the Sun's apparent path in the sky in August.  Here are the links:  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1).  Note that versions 1.6.x and 1.4.1 differ in the way their "follow" and "lock" features work.  If you "follow" Earth and then "lock" the Sun to it, versions 1.6.x and 1.4.1 respectively maintain the "attitudes" of the Ecliptic and the the Celestial Equator.  This means that the Ecliptic remains "level" when you run the first link, but begins to tilt when you run the second!  Differences like this will be discussed on our  Help  page.


During your voyages in CELESTIA, would you like to be able to position yourself directly over the center of the half of Earth in sunlight or the half in darkness at any time this month?  On our  Tips  page, you'll find that it's quite easy to do so!  If you're any kind of sky watcher at all, you probably know just how helpful this can be!



In UTC per CELESTIA 1.6.x (& 1.4.1):
  3rd Qtr: Aug 3, 4:59 (5:00). New: Aug 10, 3:08 (3:09).
  1st Qtr: Aug 16, 18:14 (18:15). Full: Aug 24, 17:05 (17:06).

NOTE: New, 1st Quarter, Full and 3rd Quarter Moons respectively are defined to occur when the Geocentric Ecliptic Longitudes of the Moon and the Sun differ by 0°, 90°, 180° and 270°.

To watch a short video demonstrating the Phases of the Moon,  click here.

The above diagram is produced with our "Moon Phases Calendar" script.  The numbers of the days of the month were added with an image-editing program.

To watch a short video of our Moon Phases Calendar in action,  click here.


Per CELESTIA 1.6.x (and 1.4.1):
    Perigee: Aug 10 17:59 (18:00) UTC; 357,869 km.
    Apogee: Aug 25 5:57 (5:58) UTC; 406,370 km.
Determined by our "Earth-Moon Distance" and "Moon's Apparent Path" scripts.  Note that distances given are the distances between Earth's and the Moon's centers.


Here is the lunar analemma, generated by the Moon's positions relative to the mean lunar orbit and the Ecliptic at 0:00 UTC every day of August.

This phenomenon can be observed using our "Moon's Apparent Path" script.  The analemma's change of shape month after month begins to give us an idea of just how irregular the lunar orbit is.

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Various astronomical "shadow events" occur throughout the Solar System!  This month's more interesting ones are featured here.


Here we highlight the most awe-inspiring eclipses taking place in our Solar System.  We also set them up so that all you need to do is click on their links.  Don't forget that you can generate lists of Earth's, Jupiter's, Saturn's, Uranus's, Neptune's and even Pluto's eclipses, using CELESTIA's own built-in "Eclipse Finder."  You'll find it in the program's menu under "Navigation".

All events listed below are displayed as if viewed from Earth, their magnifications shown in parentheses at the lower right of CELESTIA's window.  Events involving more than one moon are often cyclical, so usually only the first example is given, and then the period of the cycle.


Simultaneous solar eclipses occur on Jupiter in August, the first appearing near mid month.  Here are highlights of the 33 solar eclipses that the Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) produce in August.  Jupiter's shadow still stretches off to the west (right) and examples of the Galileans moving into it or emerging from it are also included.


While CELESTIA 1.6.x shows the shadows of Titan, Rhea, Iapetus, Dione and Tethys, version 1.4.1 displays only the shadows of Titan, Rhea & Iapetus.  So, 1.6.x and 1.4.1 respectively show 36 and 7 solar eclipses on Saturn in August.  The highlights are as follows:


Neither Uranus nor Neptune will experience eclipses for decades.  Dwarf planet Pluto will experience no eclipses by Charon for about a century!

News: 2010 August