Night Sky Gaze
Backyard Astronomy

Best Stargazing Dates in Late August

Late Summer has some of the most unique stargazing dates on the calendar. This time of year allows for some fascinating light quality and night sky sights in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you’re interested in seeing some unique celestial happenings, there are a few dates to mark on your calendar, and they’re coming up soon!

Late August Stargazing

August 26

In the evening of the 26th of August, Jupiter’s red path will bring it directly past a globular star cluster. This will be seen in the Southern sky near Ophiuchus, and it will provide some amazing sights.

Monday evening will be the best time to see this, as the gas giant will be visible just south of the cluster, very evident and striking in the night sky.

The cluster in question is around 38,000 light-years from us. Having both Jupiter and the cluster in the same field of vision will allow for some amazing photography, and is an image unlikely to be replicated any time soon.

If you’re interested in seeing the cluster, make sure you place Jupiter barely out of view in your telescope. That will allow you to make out the somewhat blurry cluster, even though it’s so many thousands of light-years away.

August 28

In the early morning of the 28th, there will be an interesting overlap between the moon and a star cluster called the Beehive. This will occur just before dawn, likely around 5 in the morning for most of North America.

The cluster, which includes the Beehive and Messier 44, will be visible as a splash of stars just under the crescent of the moon.

When looking for this event, check the east-northeastern sky. It will appear low in the sky, near the horizon, for most of North America. This event will be visible with binoculars or a telescope, though some eagle-eyed stargazers may even be able to see it with their naked eyes.

This otherworldly sight will likely be visible from around 4:30 AM until around 5:30 AM, slowly ringing the horizon.

Cameron Norris