This is the Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday August 28th, and 29th, written by Joe Slomka.
The Sun sets at 7:37 PM; night falls at 9:18. Dawn begins at 4:35 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:17.
Southeastern Capricornus houses the Moon on both nights. Monday’s 12-day-old Moon rises at 6:41 PM, 11°high, 33’ arc-minutes in size, 93% illuminated and sets at 3:56 AM, Tuesday. Tuesday’s Moon rises at 7:18 PM, 7 ° high, same size but 98% lit and sets at 5:20 on Wednesday.
Mars remains in the evening sky, but very difficult to find. In western Virgo, it glows with 1st magnitude and almost 4 arc-seconds. However, it is very close to the horizon, only 2° at 8 PM and sets at 8:32.
Saturn, in southeastern Aquarius, rises at 7:37 PM, zero magnitude, 19 arc-seconds diameter, by 9:19 PM 17° high, highest at 12:55 AM and 8° high at 5:19 AM. Eastern Neptune, 23° behind Saturn in Pisces, glimmers with 7th magnitude, 2 arc-seconds, rises at 8:26 PM, 9° at 9:19 PM and 28° at 5:19 AM.
Southern Aries is shared by Jupiter and Uranus. Gas Giant Jupiter rises at 10:22 PM, flashes with minus 2nd magnitude, diameter 43 arc-seconds, 99% lit, 62° altitude at 9:19 and highest at 5:22 AM. Jupiter presents delights for the observer. After Wednesday’s midnight, the Great Red Spot (a giant storm) becomes visible at 1:53; the Jovian moon Europa begins an eclipse at 2:41 and ends at 5:05. Uranus trails Jupiter, rises at 10:38 PM, glimmers with 5th magnitude, almost 3 arc-seconds diameter, 17° altitude at 9:19 PM and 64° high at 5:19 AM.
Comet 103/Hartley continues its stay in Andromeda, glows with 8th magnitude, 80% illuminated, rises at 7 PM, 14° high at 9:19 PM and highest 85° at 5:19 AM.
Ancient peoples considered the sky as the realm of the gods and told stories about their constellations. By midnight, all the constellations that make up the Andromeda saga are visible. We previously mentioned Cassiopeia and Cepheus. Queen Cassiopeia angered some gods and Ethiopia was subjected to severe calamities. An oracle told King Cepheus that disasters would end if he chained daughter Andromeda to a seaside rock to be eaten by the sea monster Cetus. Perseus was returning from a mission to kill the Medusa, a woman so hideous that her visage turned people to stone. One version of the myth has Perseus returning by his horse Pegasus. He hears Andromeda’s cry for help. The nearby parents promise her hand in marriage if he saves her. He kills Cetus and frees Andromeda. “W” shaped Cassiopeia and Cepheus, shaped like a stick drawing of a house, are visible overhead. Pegasus, the flying horse, is a Great Square high in the eastern sky, flying upside down; his neck begins at the lower right star of the square. Andromeda’s chains flow from the upper left star in the square and continues eastward. The famous Andromeda Galaxy lies above the upper chain and is visible to naked eyes in rural skies. Perseus appears to the east of Pegasus, a stick drawing of a man with one long and one short leg. The brightest star in the short leg is Algol, the “Demon Star.” It represents the evil eye of the Medusa. Cetus lies beneath Pegasus and Pisces. It is a dim constellation low on the horizon for our latitude.