August 2019 Starwatch
Written by Karl Hricko on August 12, 2019
Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the August Starwatch for the WNTI.ORG.
Do stones fall from the sky? When told that this had happened in Weston Connecticut, Thomas Jefferson is alleged to have said, “I would rather believe that two Yankee professors would lie, than that stones have fallen from the heavens”. Well it’s true. Stones do fall from the heavens as meteors – being made of either rock or metal, or both.
Actually, the stones falling from the sky this month will be mostly made of small dust particles, left over from the passage of the Swift-Tuttle comet. It’s called a meteor shower, and will appear to radiate from the constellation – Perseus, the Hero. He was the one who saved the princess Andromeda from Cetus, the sea monster – according to Greek mythology.
This Perseid meteor shower will peak between the 12th and the 13th of August, and the best time to see them is after midnight. There should be about 15 to 20 meteors an hour.
While you’re watching these showers, look from the south-southeast to the south in order to see Saturn in Sagittarius, and then Jupiter in Scorpius. The rest of the visible planets are hidden in sunlight, or too low to the horizon to be easily seen.
So this month, look for the hero to give you a heavenly shower, while you watch some of the planetary gods, move through the heavens.
Until our next Starwatch –
Don’t forget to check out …
What’s up, in the night sky!