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    Articles > August 2003
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The Night Sky Planisphere

All skywatchers need a planisphere to quickly show the night sky for any time and date.
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  Sky Calendar -- August 2003
5 First Quarter Moon at 7:28 UT.
6 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 14h UT (distance 369,433 km; angular size 32.4').
7 Moon near Antares (mag. +1.03, brightest star in the constellation Scorpius) at 6h UT.
12 Full Moon at 4:48 UT. The full Moon of August is called the "Green Corn Moon" or "Grain Moon" in old almanacs.
13 Perseid meteor shower peaks. The best known of all the meteor showers. Active from July 17 to August 24. Produces swift, bright meteors (50 to 100 per hour) many with persistent trains. Unfortunately, strong moonlight interferes with this year's shower.
13 Moon near Mars at 16h UT (morning sky). Skywatchers throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa will witness the rare and beautiful sight of an unusually bright Mars (mag. ­2.7) near the Moon.
14 Mercury at greatest elongation at 21h UT, 27° east of Sun (evening sky). Magnitude +0.4.
18 Venus at superior conjunction at 17h UT (not visible). The planet passes into the evening sky.
19 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 14h UT (distance 404,102 km; angular size 29.6').
20 Last Quarter Moon at 0:48 UT.
20 Moon near the Pleiades at 8h UT (morning sky).
22 Jupiter at conjunction with the Sun at 20h UT (not visible). The planet passes into the morning sky.
27 Mars nearest to Earth at 9:51 UT. At 55,758,006 km (or 34,646,418 miles) this is the closest that Mars has come to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. Magnitude ­2.9 and 25.1 arcseconds in diameter. A good telescope will reveal dark surface features and a tiny white south polar ice­cap. Expect Astronomy clubs and organizations to offer telescope viewing sessions.
27 New Moon at 17:26 UT. Beginning of lunation 998.
28 Mars at opposition at 18h UT and thus visible all night long.
30 Mars at perihelion (closest to Sun) at 11h UT, 1.3812 A.U. from Sun.
31 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 19h UT (distance 367,926 km; angular size 32.5').
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Summer Time = UT ­ 4 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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