(WVNS) — Stormtracker59 Meteorologist Bradley Wells is back with another look at the upcoming celestial events that will delight our region all month long. With the month of August upon us, those of us in the two Virginia’s will be treated to one of the most popular meteor showers of the year, a super moon, and much more! Remember to bookmark this page so you and your family can enjoy all the August night sky has to offer.

The following events are marked as follows below for your convenience.
NAKED EYE EVENT: The event is visible without the aid of binoculars or telescopes in dark sky conditions.
TELESCOPE EVENT: The event is enhanced by the use or requires a hobby telescope or binoculars
LARGE TELESCOPE EVENT: A large (8-10 inch) professional telescope is required to view the event.


AUGUST 11th – THE BEST METEOR SHOWER: NAKED EYE EVENT – The Perseids Meteor Shower is marked as the best meteor shower of the year due to its timing. Happening in the late summer season, it falls when nights are warm and mostly comfortable making it an easier one to watch then those in December or January. In terms of number of meteors, it falls short of the most frequent meteor shower of the year but still dazzling. On average about 50-75 meteors per hour will fall during the peak on the night of August 11th and morning of the 12th. Best viewing will be away from city lights but this year the August full moon will impede viewing as it will rise around 9pm limiting the number of meteors able to be viewed to only the brightest.

AUGUST 13th – SUPER MOON: NAKED EYE EVENT – The full moon will look brighter and bigger this night as it rises. Landscape photographers, mark your calendar, as this is the last super moon of 2022. A super moon happens when the moon reaches its closest point in its orbit around the earth. On this night, the moon will be as close to us as it can be making it appear about 8% larger. While a small amount, our atmosphere acts like a magnifying lens creating the optical illusion that the moon is much, much larger.

AUGUST 14th – SATURN AT OPPOSITION: NAKED EYE EVENT – Widely accepted as the most beautiful of planets in our solar system, Saturn will put on a bright display on the evening of the 14th. Saturn reaches its closest approach to our sun making it great for viewing. To the naked eye, Saturn will look like a bright star.
TELESCOPE EVENT: Those will hobby telescopes will get a great view of the brightly lit rings of Saturn. A higher powered lens or Barlow lens will help bring Saturn closer to you.
LARGE TELESCOPE EVENT: This will be a great night for those with professional/high end telescopes to view and photograph Saturn in all its glory given you catch it before the rising of the near full moon.

AUGUST 18th-30th – SUMMER TRIANGLE: NAKED EYE EVENT – Each night around midnight, you’ll find 3 bright stars forming a triangle. Vega, made famous by the movie ‘Contact’, Deneb, and Altair. These three stars are part of the Lyra, Cygnus, and Aquila constellations. This triangle of stars is known as the Summer Triangle and during this time of the year, it can be found by looking straight up at midnight.

AUGUST 19th – GOD OF WAR DANCES WITH OUR MOON: NAKED EYE EVENT – On this night, the crescent moon will be joined by Mars, our red planet neighbor. On this night, you’ll be able to find Mars, our Moon and The Seven Sister in close proximity to each other. For the rest of the month, Mars moves closer to Earth in its orbit becoming brighter and brighter. Mars is a hard one to miss in the night sky given its red hue.
TELESCOPE EVENT: A hobby telescope will help you view the red planet closer and while there, have fun looking at the mountain ranges along the terminator of the moon. The crescent moon provides the perfect opportunity to see the effect the extreme contrast of night and day have on the moons surface.
LARGE TELESCOPE EVENT: Given the landmarks to follow, large telescopes can be used to photograph The Pleiades Star Cluster, or Seven Sisters. They can be found about 3 fingers width apart to the left of Mars (about 5 degrees).

AUGUST 20th – ISS FLYBY: NAKED EYE EVENT – While not a great pass by the International Space Station, it will make an brief appearance in our night sky this night. The 4 minute pass will be spotted around 9:06pm (give or take a few due to solar winds and orbital changes between now and then). This pass will keep the ISS on our South-Southwest horizon towards the western horizon remaining low in the sky. For more ISS sighting opportunities throughout the year check out NASA’s Spot The Station website.

AUGUST 25th – GOD OF BEAUTY TAKES THE LEAD: NAKED EYE EVENT – Our crescent moon moves on from Mars and joins up with Venus, the God of Love and Beauty. This will be an early morning event just above the eastern horizon. The paper thin crescent moon will sit just above Venus.

ALL MONTH LONG: Telescope users will be treated to several planets in the night sky this month. Be on the look out for Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus. Those without a telescope will still be able to spot Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars without a telescope.

August 9th: RockSat-X @ 5:30 P.M.
August 22nd: spEED Demon “night launch” – May be seen from WV/VA with good weather

Photo Credit: NASA Wallops/Chris Perry

SOLAR SUNSPOTS TICKING UPWARDS: Since 1755, sunspots have been tracked and counted. With our digital age in full swing, Solar Cycle 25, or the 25th solar cycle since records began, starting in December 2019 at solar minimum. Over the next 25 years, sun spot activity is expected to grow increasing the danger for CMEs or Coronal Mass Ejections. Aside from providing stunning Northern Lights displays, it can also cause issues in telecommunications, GPS, air traffic, and more. The reason sun activity news reports have been on the rise. A minor Geomagnetic Storm Watch was issued by the Space Weather Prediction Center on August 8th for such an event. Northern Lights Forecast zones reached as far south as our region during this event. As Solar Cycle 25 continues until 2030, the chances increase for us to see the northern lights in the two-Virginias, given a small chance at best. To follow along with Space Weather Alerts, follow the SWPC here.

Photo Credit: NASA Space Weather Prediction Center from GOES-16 Satellite SUVI instrument

Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you don’t miss a single event!