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In the Sky This Month

The Moon rolls past one bright light after another this month, including the brilliant planets Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. At the same time, two of the signature star patterns of summer, Scorpius and Sagittarius, roll low across the south. Scorpius really does look like a scorpion, while the brightest stars of Sagittarius, which represents a centaur holding a bow and arrow, form a wide teapot.

August 19: North vs. South

Most of the action in the evening sky right now is in the south. The four brightest lights in the entire night sky are there — the Moon and the planets Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. So are the planet Saturn, and the bright stars Antares and Spica.

August 20: Moon and Saturn

The Moon slides past Saturn the next couple of nights. The giant planet looks like a bright star. It’s close to the lower left of the Moon tonight, and farther to the right of the Moon tomorrow night.

August 21: Sirius Rising

Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. Also known as the Dog Star for its location in Canis Major, the big dog, it will climb into better view as the month progresses.

August 22: Moon and Mars

Mars looks like a bright orange star low in the southeast at nightfall. It is close to the lower left of the Moon tonight, and a similar distance to the lower right of the Moon tomorrow night.

August 23: More Moon and Mars

Look for Mars close to the lower right of the Moon this evening, and staying close to the Moon throughout the night. It looks like a bright orange star. Although Mars has faded over the past month, it’s still one of the brightest lights in the night sky.

August 24: Mercury in the Morning

Mercury, the Sun’s closest planet, is putting on a good show in the morning sky. It is north of due east at dawn and quite low, so you will need a clear horizon to spot it. It’s bright, though, and it will get brighter over the next two weeks.

August 25: Moon in Aquarius

The full Moon is passing through Aquarius tonight. The constellation is home to a planetary system, known as Trappist-1, which contains at least seven planets. All of them are about as big as Earth, and three are in the star’s “habitable zone.”

Current moon phase

Last quarterLast August 4, 1:18 pm

New MoonNew August 11, 4:58 am

First QuarterFirst August 18, 2:49 am

Full MoonFull August 26, 6:56 am

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Perigee August 10

Apogee August 23

The full Moon of August is known as the Grain Moon or the Green Corn Moon.