Volume: 03, Issue: 16 08/10/2005 
Perseid meteor shower. Image courtesy NASA/GSFC.
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Skymap for Perseid meteor shower. Image courtesy NASA.
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Skymap for viewing Jupiter and Venus. Image courtesy NASA.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Discovery Returns to Earth
Scientists Discover Tenth Planet
Cassini Continues to Explore the Unknown
Spitzer Finds Hungry Black Holes
 

Put Your Astronomy Skills Into Practice

The August skies present a perfect opportunity for science enthusiasts to brush up on their astronomy skills. Several events will light up the night skies in the coming days, including the Perseid meteor showers and three planet appearances.

Perseid Meteor Showers
Donít miss the spectacular dancing lights of the annual Perseid meteor shower Aug. 12. Try to find a spot where city lights wonít obscure your view and look toward the constellation Perseus to spot the meteors. (Get a better idea of where to look by clicking on the NASA skymap Ė photo two in the left column.) If skies are clear, viewers in the northern hemisphere may be able to see 60 to 80 meteors per hour between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. Even if you arenít able to see the shower during that peak time, viewers are expected to see plenty of meteors after sunset Aug. 11 and 12.

Planet Viewing
As fall approaches, Mars is coming closer and closer to Earth. (It will reach is closest point to Earth at the end of October.) The Red Planet is already shining brighter than the stars these days in the eastern sky near the constellation Perseus, just above the horizon after midnight and high in the sky at dawn.

The largest planet in our solar system is visible in the August skies as well. Just as the sun is setting, look for Jupiter right beside the Moon. The pair can be seen keeping one another company in the western skies. (View the NASA skymap Ė photo three in the left column.)

Venus is in the area, too. It will be visible in the western skies near the constellation Leo at the time of sunset.

    
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