Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.
Look for the waxing crescent Moon to slide by Venus, then Jupiter.
The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight, and this year there is no Moon to interfere with viewing. As with all meteor showers, the best viewing is after midnight as the Earth turns into the shower. During its peak, a couple of meteors per minute is predicted on average.
Saturday (August 18)
First-quarter Moon at 1:50 a.m. MDT.
Mercury (in Cancer)
Mercury is lost in the glare of the Sun this week.
Venus (in Virgo)
Look for Venus low in the west shortly after sunset, but look soon – Venus is dropping a bit lower every day.
Mars (in Capricornus)
A couple weeks ago Mars was the closest it’s been to the Earth in 15 years, but it remains big and bright.
The bright red planet is higher than it has been in the southeast during twilight, and is in its best telescopic viewing position in the south between 11 p.m. and midnight. The bad news is that the dust storm is still obscuring details on the surface of Mars – the good news is that the storm is thinning a bit and some dark surface markings may be visible.
Jupiter (in Libra)
Jupiter appears in the southwest during twilight. The best views through a telescope or binoculars are soon after dark.
Saturn (in Sagittarius)
Look for Saturn just above ‘spout’ of the Sagittarius ‘teapot.’ The ringed planet will rise before dusk, and its rings are still tilted near their maximum angle.
Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)
Look in the east about 1 a.m.
Neptune (in Aquarius)
Look in the southeast about 1 a.m.
BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES
The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.
Wednesday (August 15) 9:55:16 p.m. / Magnitude -2.6 / E / Elevation 42 degrees
Thursday (August 16) 9:49:11 p.m. / Magnitude -3.0 / E / Elevation 42 degrees
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) and TIANGONG2 (CHINESE SPACE STATION)
These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR or HEAVENS-ABOVE app on your smart phone or tablet.
Pueblo West, Colorado