August 3, 2021: Four planets appear in the evening sky. Brilliant Evening Star Venus and dim Mars are in the west after sunset. A little later during the evening, Saturn and Jupiter are easily visible in the southeast.
August 2, 2021: Saturn is at opposition with the sun. Earth is between the sun and the planet.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
During 2021 into 2022, Venus passes Mars three times for a triple conjunction. The first occurs on July 12, 2021. The others occur during early 2022, followed by a close approach of the two planets.
The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the morning of August 12. This year promises favorable observing without the moon. The meteors are the dust from comet that vaporize when they strike the atmosphere. Sirius may be visible in the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise.
August 18, 2021: During bright twilight, five planets and the moon are in the sky simultaneously after sunset. This is a challenging observation made with the assistance of a binocular or spotting scope. Mercury and Mars are at their closest in the west, with brilliant Venus to the upper left. The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the southeastern sky. The Mercury – Mars conjunction is the closest until 2032.
The first morning appearance of a star before sunrise is known as the heliacal rising of the star. Sirius, the brightest star, makes its first appearance each year during mid-August from mid-northern latitudes.
Still low in the sky during brighter twilight, brilliant Venus moves through Cancer and Leo. Mars enters the scene (within 10°) as it moves toward its solar conjunction. As the ecliptic’s angle with the western horizon decreases, the Venusian setting time interval shrinks several minutes until late August. Venus passes the Red Planet (July 12) and Regulus (July 21). A binocular is needed to make observations of conjunctions with the dimmer stars.
2021: Venus is the evening star that is visible in the west for the rest of the year beginning in late April. The crescent moon appears with Venus each month. Venus conjunctions occur with Mercury, Mars and bright stars.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.
July 26, 2021: Four bright planets are in the evening sky. Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings. Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction. Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.
July 25, 2021: Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus. As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.