According to various online sources such as Daniel B. Caton, physics and astronomy professor and director of observatories at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, Sunday, August 3 will be very special for those who like to see the moon and gaze at the stars. On this night the first-quarter moon will appear to be very near the planet Saturn.
Astronomy fans will be able to watch the moon briefly obscure Saturn although in some places it will be seen as “a near miss” and the actual timing is reportedly off by up to 12 hours. According to experts, the best time to observe the event is at dusk that evening. Focus your attention about 20 degrees above the southwest horizon. You will see the planet Mars to the right of the moon and the planet Saturn to the left of the moon.
Amateur astronomers will also want to mark Sunday, August 10 on their calendars. This will be the date that the full moon will look its largest all year. The change in apparent appearance is said to be a result of the elliptical orbit of the moon which is responsible for a 10 percent variation in the moon’s distance from Earth.
Some sources refer to this as a “supermoon.” While this may be a term coined over 30 years ago by astrologer Richard Nolle and made popular by the media more recently it remains apropos as the so-called “supermoon” will cause extra large tides in the world’s oceans.
The unusually bright light from the moon is also reportedly going to make it more difficult to fully observe the Perseid meteor shower that will peak on August 12. Looking at the bright light could make your pupils constrict which would then make it difficult to see some of the less bright meteors. Astronomers also note that on August 24 and 25 interested parties will be able to see the summer Milky Way in southern sky. August will be a very busy month for stargazers.