August is the last month to catch one of 2022's three supermoons. This month is also interesting for meteor showers, observing Saturn and launching a lunar mission, according to Yahoo.
Some of the night sky events this month, such as observing Saturn, can be brighter when armed with special equipment such as a telescope or binoculars. Other events, such as the Perseid meteor shower, can be observed with the naked eye. As always, if you find a place with a dark sky, your chances of a shooting star will increase.
Here are five astronomical events not to be missed.
August 2: Launch of South Korea's first lunar mission
On the evening of August 2, South Korea plans to launch a major space milestone: it will launch the Korea Pathfinder lunar orbiter, nicknamed Danuri, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Danuri marks the country's first mission to the moon. The mission of the spacecraft is to circle the moon for at least one year, measuring the magnetic force on the lunar surface and analyzing lunar resources such as water ice, uranium and silicon, according to Space.com, which notes streaming details have yet to be released. .Danuri will be launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and experts say Danuri will reach lunar orbit by mid-December 2022.
August 11: Last Supermoon of 2022
August 11 will be the last of three supermoons in 2022. This month's full moon, nicknamed the “sturgeon moon” by Native Americans because of the fish caught at that time of year, will appear slightly larger and brighter than a regular full moon. According to Space.com, the Moon reaches its brightest point near sunset in the northern hemisphere.
August 11-12: Peak of the Perseid meteor shower
Astronomy buffs across the northern hemisphere have been waiting all year for the annual Perseid meteor shower—and for good reason. According to NASA, the Perseids generate between 50 and 100 meteors per hour at their peak, which falls from the night of August 11 to the morning of August 12 this year, according to the American Meteor Society. That's good news. But there's also bad news.
This year's meteor shower coincides with the full moon; the bright glow of the moon will outshine some of the shooting stars. All is not lost, according to SeaSky.org. It's still worth going there, because the Perseids are one of the brightest meteor showers of the year, and it could be “worth seeing.”
August 14: Saturn reaches position
View Saturn in rare light on August 14, when the ringed planet reaches a position where it is larger and brighter than usual. According to Sky At Night magazine, this phenomenon occurs when the Earth is directly between the planet and the Sun (take the Moon, for example, which reaches this during every complete phase). Saturn opposition occurs about once a year. Viewing Saturn through a telescope or, in a pinch, through binoculars is possible starting at dusk in the southeast sky on August 14.
August 29: Artemis 1 potential rocket launch
NASA could launch its next major lunar mission, Artemis 1, on August 29th. If it is delayed, the launch will take place in early September. The mission, centered on an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft around the moon, will use a new Space Launch System rocket that NASA says will be the world's most powerful rocket at launch. If the mission is successful, by 2024 NASA will launch the Artemis 2 mission, which will send astronauts to the moon for the first time in seven decades.