Visiting PMO in August (2018)
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 (now getting lower in the southwestern sky) and Saturn. Mars and Neptune are the only planets we’ll observe after dark – between about 11 p.m. and the end of most tours (around midnight). By the end of August, these times will be one hour earlier (about 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.). The annual Perseid Meteor shower peaks on the night of Saturday-Sunday August 11-12 – see the separate blog post below.
Aug 3-4 – Last quarter moon doesn’t rise until after midnight, so won’t interfere with viewing.
Aug 10-11 – New moon weekend! Excellent viewing of “deep sky” objects and the meteor shower, weather permitting. Arrive early if you want to camp.
Aug 17-18 – First quarter moon sets around midnight (a little later on Saturday night), so will have some interference with “deep sky” viewing, but an excellent opportunity to see the moon itself.
Aug 24-25 – Bright almost full moon interferes with viewing all night (avoid this weekend if possible).