Society News and Night Sky Notes – August 2000

Society News Headlines

  • August 1st – Lunar Occultation of Venus (Not Seen From UK).
  • August 1st – Alpha Capricornids Meteor Shower Max.
  • August 2nd – Pallas is 0.008° North of Moon.
  • August 3rd – Mercury is 7° South of Pollux.
  • August 5th – Neil Armstrong’s 70th Birthday.(1930)
  • August 7th – 24th IAU General Assembly at Manchester UK. (Ends Aug 18th).
  • August 6th – Venus is 1.1° North of Regulus.
  • August 6th – Delta & Iota Aquarids Meteor Shower Max.
  • August 10th – Mercury 0.09° South of Mars.
  • August 11th – Moon at Apogee.
  • August 11th – LAS members Pex Hill Observatory open night, (19:30 – 21:30).
  • August 11th – Uranus at Oppostion (Mag 5.7).
  • August 11th – Juno at Oppostion (Mag 8.8).
  • August 12th – Perseids Meteor Shower Max (Poor this year with Full Moon).
  • August 13th – Neptune 1.1° North of Moon.
  • August 14th – Uranus 1.4° North of Moon.
  • August 18th – Comet Showmaker-Levy 5 at Perihelion (1.989 AU).
  • August 19th – 40th Anniversary (1960) of Sputnik 5 launch carrying two dogs Belka & Strelka.
  • August 20th – 25th Anniversary (1975) of launch of Viking 1 Mars Orbiter/Lander Mission.
  • August 21st – The New Era of Wide-Field AstronomyPreston, Lancs UK. (ends August 24th).
  • August 22nd – Saturn 2° North of Moon.
  • August 22nd – Mercury at Superior conjunction.
  • August 23rd – Jupiter is 3° North of Moon.
  • August 25th – Northern Iota Aquarids Meteor Shower Max.
  • August 25th – Comet Encke closest approach to Earth (1.303AU).
  • August 27th – Moon at Perigee.
  • August 28th – Mars 0.9° South of Moon.
  • August 28th – Vesta Stationary.
  • August 30th – Venus 4° South of Moon.
  • August 30th – Comet C/1999 T3 (Linear) at perihelion (5.366AU).


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service. To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in BRITISH SUMMER TIME (BST). Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

            3rd          8th         13th       18th       23rd        28th         
SUNRISE    05:32        05:41       05:49      05:58      06:07       06:16         
SUNSET     21:03        20:53       20:43      20:32      20:21       20:09
on 15th
at 06h:14m
on 22nd
at 19h:52m
on 29th
at 10h:20m
on 7th
at 02h:03m



Mercury concludes its morning apparition which started last month. Details of its altitude abd azimuth at the time of civil twilight are given on July’s page. On the 10th Mercury and Mars lie just 15 arcseconds apart very low above the North east horizon (altitude of just over 3°, azimuth of 60°). A day later, and even lower down, Mercury passes just South of the wide star cluster M44 in Cancer.


Venus is slowly recovering from June’s superior conjunction and will soon become prominent in the evening sky low down in the South West.


As mentioned in Mercury’s text Mars is just visible in the morning sky this month but whilst Mercury zooms towards the Sun, Mars slowly picks its way through the constellation of Cancer and heads away from the Sun to rise at 04h:30m at the start of the month (an hour before the Sun) and at 04h:20m at the end (two hours before the Sun rises). Apart from its close association with Mars on the 10th Mars passes 30′ South of M44 on the 12th. There is an occultation of Mars on the 28th but this will occur before Mars rises from the U.K.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • Pallas is 0.008° North of Moon on Aug 2nd.
  • Juno at Opposition on Aug 12th at Mag 8.8 in Aqurius.
  • Metis at Opposition on Aug 3rd at Mag 9.5 in Capricornus.
  • How to find them from Liverpool

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter rises at around midnight so by the early hours of the morning it ought to be high enough to see it clear of any horizon haze which may be around. Lying in the bright constellation of Taurus Jupiter passes close by some easily visible stars such as Delta Tauri (3° South of Jupiter on the 7th), Theta Tauri (5° South on the 14th) and bright Aldebaran – Aplha Tauri (3° on the 31st). Also, on the 23rd Jupiter lies 3.5° North of the Moon at 11h.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn legs behind Jupiter a little as it too passes through Taurus. On the 22nd Saturn is 3° North of the Moon. The beautiful ring system is very wide open now at 24° so even the casual telescopic observer is capable of seeing a wealth of detail both on the disk, the shadow of the planet on the rings, two gaps in the ring system (one easy, the other a little harder), and subtle detail in the pastel shading of the planet itself.


Uranus reaches opposition on the 11th and is therefore at its best for picking up with binoculars or low power telescope.

Neptune is also well placed and transits before midnight this month. Don’t expect to see a disk though as Uranus appears only 4″ across and Neptune a paltry 2″ across. Compare these sizes with Jupiter and you will see the difficulty in observing these two planets, both of which can be found in Capricornus.

Uranus Positions for the 1st August:

                          R.A.                   DEC                         TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      21h:27m:04s           -15°:44':53"                      02h:00m               5.7

Neptune Positions for the 1st August:

                          R.A.                   DEC                        TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      20h:29m:29s           -18°:47':38"                     00h:02m               7.9


Pluto can be found on the border of Ophiuchus, roughly between the 4th Mag stars Zeta and 20 Ophiuchi. The best time to look for the planet is around New Moon. The dates below will be a guide for planning observations.

Positions for August are when pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°.

DATE                      R.A.                   DEC                   TRANSIT TIME
Aug 8th                16h:40m:43s            -11°:05':51"                 19h:42m
Aug 18th               16h:40m:31s            -11°:09':52"                 19h:03m
Aug 28th               16h:40m:31s            -11°:14':26"                 18h:23m

Pluto is best seen between July 24th – August 15th


  • 2nd August Alpha Capricornids 8 per hour Favourable. 2 day old Moon.
  • 6th August Iota Aquarids 8 per hour Favourable. 6 day old Moon.
  • 7th August Delta Aquarids 10 per hour Favourable. 7 day old Moon.
  • 12/13th August Perseids 75 per hour UnFavourable. 12 day old Moon.
  • 28th August Alpha Aurigids 10 per hour Favourable. 27 day old Moon. (FIREBALLS!)


  • Comet Shoemaker-Levy 5 at Perihelion on August 18th (1.989AU).
  • Comet C/1999 T3 (Linear) at Perihelion on August 30th (5.366AU).
  • Comet Encke at closest approach to Earth on August 25th at (1.303AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • August 21st at 04h:35m Reappearance of Xi2 Ceti Mag 4.5