Teahouse of the August Moon

This is how the evening sky will look over the next few days.


The Moon will be Full on August 29 (at 18:35 by Universal Time). It passes about 3 degrees north of Neptune only 4 hours later, so it follows that Neptune will take its turn to be “Full” – that is, at opposition – shortly afterwards, on September 1.

No further comment (from me, I mean). I’m confining myself to minimal blog posts until hard work on Astronomical Calendar 2015 is over; will keep you up to date with sky scenes like this. They have become relatively easy as I improve my program for doing them. Notice the latest touch, a bit of glare around the Moon.

4 thoughts on “Teahouse of the August Moon”

  1. You are really getting fancy with your diagrams, Guy. Star colors, colored twilight, subtle glares and hazes . . . very much improved!

    Warning: what follows is a typically rambling, unfocused stream of consciousness with little relation to Guy’s post that you may have come to expect from me:

    Now that you have opened up the subject of AC 2016, I don’t suppose you will have time to include a section in for “Selected Seasonal Objects”? Your esteemed colleague Mr. Schaaf contributed those if I recall correctly. My nominations would be: Winter = NGC 2451 & NGC 2477 (two utterly different open clusters situated very close together); Spring = NGC 4526 & NGC 4535 (two galaxies in Virgo, one of them “Lost”, identification often confused); Summer = NGC 6882 & NGC 6940 (two large but almost completely neglected open clusters in Vulpecula); Autumn = NGC 55, NGC 247 & NGC 300 (three galaxies in the Sculptor group, each one brighter than Mag 9 and easily visible to me in 20 x 80 binoculars from a clear New Mexico desert location seven Novembers ago). The story of the Lost Galaxy, in particular, would make a delightful read in the hands of a skilled writer, as would a glimpse out into space toward a neighboring galaxy group *opposite* of the Virgo cluster.

    Even in my simple act of looking up the NGC numbers of the two Virgo galaxies, I found an internet resource that claimed the “Lost Galaxy” is NGC 4535 (European Southern Observatory website), but my planetarium software says NGC 4526 is the “Lost Galaxy”, so there has to be a compelling story here . . . I have seen both from a dark sky site in the Blue Ridge Mountains several Aprils ago (using a 13″ telescope), and NGC 4535 in particular was remarkably bright and noticeable, I would say considerably more noticeable than many Messier galaxies. Perhaps it suffers significantly if the skies are not absolutely transparent, and thus becomes much less impressive?

    1. Thanks for your good suggestions, Eric. I shall store them, but for a hoped further edition of my Astronomical Companion. It’s already almost September and I’m not going to add to the perils of finishing Ast. Cal. 2016.

  2. then allow me please to do some of the commenting…
    Was at my desk two mornings ago when I saw Venus brilliantly blazing through my window. A bit surprised you hadn’t brought our attention to its passing through inferior conjunction, or might I have missed that? Sorry if I did.
    Going out this eveing to look at the moon, not quite a harvest one,( next month’s the Harvest, and a total eclipse of it at that to boot) but any evening as beautiful as this MUST be enjoyed.
    The shadow of the earth, as once described to me by someone during an eclipse trip, a greying on the horizon rising up throughout the rest of the evening, is our shadow out into space. Took a while for me to quite get it,,, but now that I understand, It all becomes quite clear to me .
    Gotta run,, , but I’ll be back.

    1. I did, on Aug. 13, rather fully describe Venus’s inferior conjunction and say that it would reappear from about Aug. 23.

      I’ve been thinking about the shadow of the earth ever since I saw it from the top of a mountain in Jordan long ago; I see it as purplish in at least early twilight; I’ve been trying for some weeks to think of the algorithm for the part of my program that finds the color of spots in the sky; haven’t yet quite got it. A picture of the early-twilight sky looks wrong if it gets paler and yellower all the way down to the horizon.

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