All information presented here is taken from my 74 page book NightScenes 2017.

Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire.  All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.

August 2017

Solar System quick summary

For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.

Jupiter slides deeper into the evening twilight but is still viewable. Saturn is stationary on the 25th then resumes normal motion in the evening sky. Neptune is slowly becoming better placed to view near Lambda Aquarii rising mid month at 21:00 BST.  Uranus lies near Omicron Piscium and rises before midnight mid month. Minor planet Pallas is a morning object in Eridanus slowly brightening. Ceres is also a morning object and Venus passes it as they both lie in Gemini. Mars, Vesta and Mercury are all too deep in the solar glare to view. The moon occults several stars this month including Theta1 & 2 Tauri in the Hyades. The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the 12th but moonlight will spoil the view. Very northern parts catch a (very) brief glimpse of the Aug 21st Solar Eclipse as the sun sets.

Main events


Nightscenes doesn't feature the Dwarf Planet Pluto with its own page entry in the printed book but for those with large telescopes, Pluto was at opposition on July 10th at mag 14.1 and is located close to the Teaspoon asterism in Sagittarius as shown on the chart at left. More detailed finder charts on the Pluto link above.


We start with Saturn and the moon at the beginning of the month. Saturn is now in the evening sky but is low in the south due to its position along the ecliptic. The moon moves into this area when on the 1st it lies above Beta Scorpii, also known as Graffias or Acrab. Next evening it  forms a nice triangle with Antares and Saturn on the 2nd. By the 3rd it lies on the other side of Saturn. Moonlight will wash out most of the fainter stars but Saturn and Antares are bright enough to still be seen. The view here at right is set for 22:00 BST each evening.

If you have a telescope then why not take a look?

June-Saturn.jpgThe chart here gives you some of the features to look out for. It is also worth having a go to spot its largest moon, Titan using the chart here.



The moon can often guide us to another fainter object and on the 9th it forms a triangle with Lambda Aquarii and the much fainter Neptune as seen at right. In this view Neptune is the faintest of the objects depicted but has ben greatly exaggerated to show its position. They rise together shortly before 22:00 BST but give it an hour so they are a little higher in the sky and easier to view. You will need a large binocular or small telescope to pick up faint Neptune.


Staying with the moon, it moves up towards Cetus and just after rising on the 14th it occults Xi2 Ceti for all parts of the British Isles. The chart shows the star and moon just before the occultation begins so use the table to estimated when you should look out for it and the next event.


The following morning the moon occults 5 Tauri and forms a nice triangle with the Hyades and M45 August-occ-5tau.jpgas shown here.

Then on the 16th it occults Theta1&2 Tauri - for that event click on the occultations button above for more details. The occultation's all begin on the bright side and end on the dark limb.


Now we turn our attention the the morning sky before and including twilight. Here we find Venus low in the bright twilight in the ENE at the start of August but as the nights draw in so Venus also appears to lie higher in a darker sky. It moves through Gemini and as it does so it acts as a guide to the dwarf planet Ceres. On the 1st to 3rd Venus is in the light morning twilight below M35 and moves through the feet of Castor, one of the twins. Ceres Passes below Mebsuta, Epsilon Geminorum from the 3rd to 5th. Venus passes below Ceres on the morning of the 13th (yellow line on chart). Ceres (mag 8.9) lies either side of mag 5.2 Omega Geminorum on the 14th/15th whilst Aug-perseids.jpgVenus passes below Wasat Delta Geminorum on the 16th/17th. Finally the crescent moon lies under Venus for a stunning view on the 19th. Look around 04:00 BST.

Although the Full moon occurs on the 7th, the Perseid's Meteor shower peaks on the 12th when the rising moon late in the night will affect the number of meteors seen. However the Perseid's can also have bright fireballs/meteors so it is still worth looking out for them over in the NE before moonrise ~ 23:00 BST so use the chart here as a guide.

Also look out for the following:

Aug   4th  Ceres lies close to Epsilon Geminorum (morning)

Aug 12th  Jupiter lies close to Theta Virginis (evening twilight)

Aug 13th  Moon near to Uranus (morning)

Aug 21st  New Moon (Total Solar Eclipse  - USA. Slight partial at sunset (UK)

Aug 24th  Crescent moon occults Porrima as they set in evening twilight

Aug 25th  Crescent Moon lies above Jupiter and Spica in evening twilight

Aug 27th  Crescent Moon lies between Alpha and Beta Librae (evening)

Aug 29th  First Quarter Moon again forms triangle with Antares and Saturn  

Aug 30th  Moon lies above left of Saturn this evening

  Clear skies and happy sky watching.


The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2017 AD


NLC’s or Noctilucent Clouds may be visible in the northern half of the sky

Webmaster  © Paul L Money 2017