Rumor has it that August is the month when Curiosity Rover sings “Happy Birthday” to himself while roving Mars…alone.
On a happier note, though, this month is also full of amazing sky events. For 2017 that is.
Apart from the total solar eclipse and meteor showers our astronomers have predicted, here are the other occurrences we have to watch out for.
Full corn moon
Also known as the Red Moon or Grain Moon, the Full Corn Moon is expected to show up on August 7, ideally from sunset to sunrise the next day. Maybe this is what Pocahontas was singing about; the words were just mixed up.
According to some beliefs, when the full corn moon exists, it is a good time to focus on your health—physically and spiritually—because of this moon’s fiery energy. Maybe the corn moon is the sign you’ve been waiting for since January 1 to hit the gym.
That could be done anytime of the year, but still, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Last quarter moon
From midnight to morning daylight, the last quarter moon is visible in the southern sky on August 14. This is the time the moon traverses the last 25% of its orbit around the earth on the way to the new moon.
Beliefs say this is the time to end an old cycle. Detach from the world and rest. And while you do, think of the things you have to let go…like that old, tight jeans whose buttons are screaming for help when you put them on.
New moon and total solar eclipse
As we all know, a solar eclipse is when the new moon decides to block the sun, so our days get a bit darker. But jokes aside, this is the time the moon is exactly between the Earth and the sun, and that’s bound to happen on August 21.
Some are convicted that during an eclipse, the environment is conducive for negative energies that may harm humankind. For the others, the new moon and solar eclipse are installments of the Twilight Saga film series.
First quarter moon
By August 29, the moon will have completed the first quarter of its journey. This moon is visible in the afternoon and evening hours.
This is also the time when you have enough energy to achieve your goals and finish tasks such as the trash your wife asked you to take out.
Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks
On August 12, the meteor shower peaks before dawn. However, the waning gibbous moon may obstruct your view. Nevertheless, it is the most reliable time in the year.
We don’t know how many falling stars we’ll see on that night, but you can start listing down your top ten wishes. Then wait for Santa Claus in December.
Other significant events for this month are the visibility of several planets such as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune.
So basically it’s a reunion of the planets only they don’t show up on the same day.
Eleven items you have to prepare
To enjoy these sky shows even more, we have listed these items to prepare for you.
Telescopes are needed so you can have a closer look at the different planets and the various moon forms.
But we know you won’t stop at the night exhibitions, so we recommend Meade EclipseView Day or Night Telescope. It has a removable filter that lets you watch both day and night sky objects plus a Barlow lens that doubles the lens’ magnifying power.
It’s lightweight (barely 4 lbs.) and compact so if you want to change locations while skywatching, you won’t have to worry about its portability.
For beginners, binoculars are a good way to start off your observation. The two prisms are better than one and are, by and large, easier to focus and control.
We then recommend you Celestron 71198 Cometron 7×50 Binoculars. They’re lightweight (2 lbs.) but without compromising the features. They offer wide viewing angle so you can see more swaths of the sky. It also has multi-coated optics and large exit pupils so you can still see astronomical objects clearly even at low lights.
But experts advise against using them during the meteor shower because it will give you a limited view of the sky. Instead, just sit back and use the binoculars mother nature gave you—your naked eye.
3. Viewing chair
Skywatching is fun and all until you start feeling the pain on your nape. To make sure you stay comfortable all throughout, get yourself one of the Starboard astronomy viewing chairs.
It has an adjustable padded seat plus a perfectly reclined backrest so you can use your telescope or binoculars with ease.
4. Ground mat
Meteor showers are more fun to watch if you’re comfortably lying down on the ground but protected from dirt, crawling insects, and dew.
So grab this giant outdoor blanket; it’s so big it can fit seven adults. It’s also sand free, water resistant, and quick drying—perfect for the beach, grass, or almost any outdoor terrain. To make sure the mat stays in place, you can place stones or other heavy items in the anchor pockets.
5. Red light
Looking at the darkness for a long time then glancing at your phone is the worst combination for stargazing. You’ll end up seeing white spots.
Hence, if there’s a need to look at other objects aside from the starry sky, get the SK8 Red Hunting Light. Its 300-lumen max output is powerful enough to see things even at a distance.
6. Foldable table
To take care of your skywatching knickknacks, get the Outry folding table with cup holders. The heavy duty nylon fabric paired with the aluminum alloy frame makes it durable and at the same time lightweight.
The cup holders are big enough to hold a bottle with a 2-inch diameter. The package includes a carrying bag, so portability is not a problem.
7. Table base
A table’s nemesis is an uneven flooring. So we use paper upon paper until the table stops dancing. But on really irregular surfaces, paper can only do so much to keep the table balanced.
With Norock self-stabilizing bases, however, a rocking table would no longer be a problem. Just attach it to the table base and say goodbye to dancing.
8. Eclipse glasses
The darkened sun is amazing to look at but harmful if you’re using your naked eyes. To make sure you can still play video games with a perfect vision the next day, protect your eyes with eclipse glasses from American Paper Optics, LLC.
American Paper Optics, LLC is the trusted maker of eclipse glasses, so you’re confident you are not getting counterfeit products.
9. Smartphone eyepiece adapter
“Picture or it didn’t happen” is the new motto technology has taught us. So to make your friends believe that you really saw the meteor showers and the total solar eclipse, get this eyepiece adapter for iOptron.
It has a solar filter thus it’s safe to use for both daytime and nighttime sky. All you have to do is attach the adapter to your smartphone’s camera then hook it to your telescope.
10. Sky map
To enjoy sky watching some more, not to mention be the Isaac Newton among your friends, get yourself this free printable sky map. It gives you a detailed sky calendar and tells you which objects may be seen by the naked eye, binoculars, and telescope.
11. Moon map
Take your genius several notches higher with this free printable moon map with all the labels and whatnots. You also have the option to look at the giant zoomable map via mobile or a PC.