August 2022 Stargazing Guide

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2022

Video starts with moving night sky and a swirling object turns into Orbax.
- [Orbax]: Greetings junior scientists, scientists and citizens this great big weird wild and wonderful world in which we live. As always I'm your humble science communicator, the great Orbax, coming to you from the Department of Physics at University of Guelph and I'd like to welcome you to the August 2022 Star Gazing Guide!

Orbax spins out and we are left with a moving star background that fades to black.

A spinning object reappears as Orbax with a moving diagram of the sun with stars and planets indicated in orbit in the background. The video zooms in on the sun.

- [Orbax]: With a diameter 109 times that of the earth and a mass 330 000 times earth's mass, the nuclear-powered plasma ball in the sky known as the sun is the star in the center of our solar system. Or, as it seems lately, in the center of my backyard. This summer we've been blasted by heat waves but on the bright side, no pun intended, the lack of rain has given us clear skies and some perfect conditions for stargazing.

Background changes to a star chart of constellations.

- [Orbax]: This month we're going to spend some time looking for constellations,

Background changes to a still image of Saturn.

- [Orbax]: try and find the rings of Saturn,

Background changes to an image of stars.

- [Orbax]: and talk about what the universe looked like 13 billion years ago. It's all out there junior scientists, all you've got to do is take some time and look up.

Orbax points and looks up as his image shrinks and disappears and the screen fades to black. 

Orbax reappears on a starry background.

- [Orbax]: Our great big summer sky is full of stars so let's see if we can find some easy to spot constellations.

A star chart appears with the triangle indicated in pink. As Orbax indicates a constellation, it appears.

- [Orbax]: Last month we talked about the summer triangle. At the start of August you'll be able to spot it high in the eastern sky but by mid-August it'll be directly overhead after sunset meaning also the constellations of Lyra, Aquila and Cygnus will also appear directly overhead since one star from each comprises the triangle. Once you spot the triangle look inside it. In the corner closest to Altair in Aquila you'll see a small and faint constellation that looks a little bit like an arrow. This rare gem is Sagitta.  The stars in Sagitta aren't the brightest and it's actually the third smallest constellation in the night sky but its unique shape makes it easy to spot. Now let's swing around to the west. You're gonna see a bright star, in fact the brightest star in the northern sky, this is Arcturus. Arcturus is 7.1 billion years old and is actually only 37 light years away.

Two stars are indicated in the background one as a large yellow glowming ball and the other as a large orange glowing ball. The orange ball grows as Orbax explains its size.

- [Orbax]: Arcturus is a red giant and what that means is that although it has the same mass as our sun it's grown to be 25 times bigger and 170 times brighter than our sun.

The background changes to a star chart of the stars around Arcturus and the constellations appear as indicated.

- [Orbax]: Now the stars around Arcturus make up a shape that almost looks like a kite. This is the constellation Bootes the Herdsmen. If you look directly to the right of our kite made of stars you'll find our old friend Ursa Major. As a matter of fact, one surefire way to find Arcturus is to follow the arc of the handle of the big dipper which will lead you directly to our red giant friend.

The background changes to a diagram indicating the four phases of the moon for the month; First QUarter, Full Moon, Third Quarter and New Moon. 

- [Orbax]: The full moon this month is on the 11th and it's yet another super moon!

The background changes to a fullscreen moon with the words SUPERMOON repested. 

- [Orbax]: This is the last super moon of the year and a perfect compliment to our hot August nights.

A diagram appears in the background indicating the Perigee and Apogee. 

- [Orbax]: If you missed what a super moon is check out our June and July Star Gazing Guides.

A series of images and videos appears in the background illustrating the various names of the August full moon. 

- [Orbax]: This full moon is often called the sturgeon moon, named after North America's largest fish. The sturgeon family of fish have existed for over 135 million years and have even been mistaken for lake monsters on several occasions. The August full moon coincides with certain harvests and is also referred to as the "green corn moon", the "grain moon" and the "barley moon". The Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes region called this full moon Manoominike-giizis, the "wild rice moon". The Mi’kmaw people of the east coast refer to the August full moon as the "berry ripening moon" or Kisikewiku’s.

The background changes to a series of planets flashing by. 

- [Orbax]: The planets are bright in the sky this month with a few special mentions. On August 27th Mercury will be at its greatest eastern elongation. This means it will be at one of its furthest distances from the sun making it higher in the sky at sunset and therefore easier to see. Look low in the western horizon at sunset to see if you can spot it. This month is also a special one for Saturn. Saturn is an opposition on August 14th. This means that the earth will lie directly between Saturn and the Sun. Due to this geometry the Sun will fully illuminate the face of Saturn making it the brightest it will be all year. It also means that this is the closest that Saturn gets to the earth and will be visible all night long. If you have a medium-sized telescope you should even be able to spot the rings on Saturn and some of its brightest moons.

Video zooms in on Orbax and METEORS appears across the screen. Then the background changes to a night sky with shooting stars, constellations are indicated as they are mentioned. 

- [Orbax]: August 12-13 marks the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower with an expected 60 meteors an hour emanating from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky around midnight. Unfortunately it's right around the time of the full moon whose light will effectively screen most of the meteors you'd be able to see. That said you'll never know unless you try junior scientists!

Background video changes to a rocket launching and then the positioning of the telescope in space. 

- [Orbax]: Back in January we talked about an incredible achievement the launching of the James Webb Space Telescope. Weighing the same as a school bus and the size of a tennis court once it was unfolded, the James Webb Space Telescope spent a month traveling 1.5 million kilometers behind the earth with respect to the sun. From there it's been quietly aligning its signature 6.5 meter wide 18 segment golden infrared reflecting mirror to peer into the oldest and deepest parts of the universe.

Background changes to some of the images released from the telescope. 

- [Orbax]: On July 11 the public witnessed the first of many images that we'll receive from the Webb and we were not disappointed! The images have continued to pour in and the findings are not only beautiful but they have deep reaching implications for astronomy and physics. What we're seeing is light from billions of years ago arriving to the Webb now and what it's showing us is a snapshot of the universe from back then. The Webb has given us the deepest and clearest image of the universe that we've ever seen

Background changes to one of the NASA diagrams outlining the Atmosphere Composition. 

- [Orbax]: and not only that but the Webb is loaded with spectroscopy equipment that has shown us the presence of water on distant planets.

Background switches back to images from the telescope.

- [Orbax]: If you're interested in learning more about these findings click on the link in the description to see a live stream that I did with Dr. Nathalie Ouellette, the Canadian Outreach Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and Kate Howells, the Communications Strategy and Canadian Space Policy Advisor to the Planetary Society. Truly this is an incredible time to be alive junior scientists! I wish you the best of luck in your astro-endeavors and I can't wait to see what wonders you'll discover when you take some time to look up.

Orbax looks and points up as he shrinks and disappears. He reappears. 

- [Orbax]: See you next month and don't forget to have a science-tastic day! Special thanks to Royal City Science's own planetary geochemist Dr. Glynis Perrett for her help preparing our star gazing guide.

Image of Dr. Perrett and a small Royal City Science logo appear. 

- [Orbax]: We'd also like to thank the Skyview app and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Background transitions to a night sky texture with the Sky View logo and tag line 'Explore the Universe', then transitions to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada logo. Video and music credits.

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