If you ever find that the only problem with stargazing is that it happens at night, then the close approach of the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Regulus is a rare treat for you. After sunset, around 6pm on 6th August, the Moon makes a close approach to the planets Venus and Mercury and the star Regulus – just about clearing the horizon after dusk for around an hour. 

Use the above image as a guide. Astronomical images provided by SkySafari, a Simulation Curriculum Company, All rights reserved www.simulationcurriculum.com.

When and where to look:

After the sun sets at 5:28pm, once it’s dark you’ll be able to see the four objects low above the western horizon around dusk.

Something Interesting

Regulus is the brightest object in the constellation Leo and one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

There are also a couple of extra treats in store for you in August!

Close approach of the Moon and Saturn | 21st August

Image shows dramatic plumes spraying water ice and vapor from many locations along the famed 'tiger stripes' near the south pole of saturn's moon= enceladus class=
Dramatic plumes spray water, ice, and vapour from many locations along the famed “tiger stripes” near the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Moon makes a close approach to the gas giant Saturn on 21st August, with Saturn rising at 7:11pm, followed closely by the Moon at 7.42pm.

When and where to look:

After the sun sets, look for the Moon rising above the western horizon after 7pm. Saturn is above and both objects in the constellation Aquarius.

Something Interesting

Saturn’s moon Enceladus is small and icy, but NASA’s Cassini probe found the moon has a subsurface ocean of liquid salty water, and its plumes of water vapour and ice particles spray into space. Astronomers consider Enceladus a promising candidate for life beyond Earth.

Close approach of the Moon and the Pleiades | 26th August
A screenshot of Stellarium showing Close approach of the Moon and the Pleiades

The Pleiades, a bright open cluster of stars more commonly called the Seven Sisters or M45, makes a close approach with the Moon on 26th August.

When and where to look:

The pair will be visible from when the Moon rises in the very early morning at 12.20am, followed by the Pleiades around 12.45am.  You’ll be able to see both objects in the constellation Taurus in the north-eastern sky.

Something Interesting

The Pleiades is easy to see with the unaided eye. This star cluster contains over a thousand stars and is dominated by hot blue luminous stars formed within the last 100 million years

To find out more about what to see in the night sky, grab a copy of the latest Astronomy Australia almanac from Stargazers Club WA and learn all you need to know about what to see in our night sky.

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There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky and country WA is the best place to catch all the action