Visiting PMO in August (2016)
Sunsets at PMO rapidly become earlier in August – from about 8:30 p.m. at the outset to about 7:45 p.m. at the end. This means you won’t have to wait as long to see the Milky Way and some great “deep sky” objects, but do plan on arriving at or shortly after sunset if you want to observe the planets (Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – with Jupiter too low for the 24-inch telescope by about mid-month, but Venus will join Jupiter very low in the western sky the final weekend of August). Neptune (and possibly Uranus) are the only planets we’ll observe after dark – near the end of most tours, a little before midnight.
The annual Perseid Meteor shower peaks August 11th,Thursday evening into the early morning hours of Friday August 12, best from about midnight to 4 a.m. Although the telescopes won’t be open Thursday night, you’re welcome to visit, camp if desired, look up at the sky and enjoy the meteor show. The moon sets that night about 1 a.m. We will be open the evening of Friday August 12th.
Moon information: Aug 5-6 – thin crescent moon (just below Jupiter on 8/5); Aug 12-13 – bright moon interferes with viewing, but will be visible during tours; Aug 19-20 – moon still bright (shortly after full moon) and rises by 9:30 p.m., limiting dark sky viewing; Aug 26-27 – waning moon doesn’t rise until after 1:30 a.m., won’t interfere with normal public viewing.