One of life’s simple pleasures is laying back, relaxing, and watching the skies, and right now is the perfect time to do just that. August is a big month for astronomy; here’s what’s waiting for you in the sky.
The Perseid Meteor shower is one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year. This year, it will be visible from July 17 to August 24 as Earth passes through Comet Swift-Tuttle. The peak of the meteor shower happened on the morning of August 12, but there are still be plenty of meteors to be seen! To view the Perseids, grab a lawn chair, find a dark, open sky, and look towards the constellation Perseus in the northern sky.
This Monday, August 21st, a total solar eclipse will be visible in North America. It’s the first total solar eclipse in the United State since 1979 and the first to cross coast-to-coast since 1918! Observers on a path from Oregon to South Carolina will see a total eclipse; here in Green Tree, totality will be 80% around 2:35 PM.
A solar eclipse is incredible to see, so we hope you’ll go outside for this rare event. Of course, you should never, ever look directly at the sun! Just a few seconds of looking into the sun could permanently damage your eyes. Use special eclipse glasses labeled “ISO 12312-2 standard” (for an approved list, click here) or one of the projection methods described here. Children will need to be extra careful, as eclipse glasses are sized for adults. The safest way for kids to view the eclipse is with a projection method.
The library has plenty of resources for stargazers, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced. Here are a few to get you started:
National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Night Sky of North America
A handy, pocket-sized guide that’s perfect for beginners, this book is informative without overwhelming readers with information.
The Urban Astronomer’s Guide : A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers
Sometimes, there’s just no way around light pollution. Use this guide to make the most out of stargazing in an urban or suburban environment.
The Backyard Stargazer : An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Skywatching With and Without a Telescope
A great astronomy book for beginners that will help you learn the basics of stargazing whether you have a telescope, binoculars, or no special equipment at all. All you need is a clear nighttime sky!