Podcaster: Rob Webb

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Webb-150x150.png

Title: Observing With Webb in August 2021

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: ; ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram

This podcast is found on: Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on YouTube Channel.

The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.


August is good for two things in the sky: bright planets and bright meteors.  Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter reign supreme this month, with the annual Perseid Meteor Shower heating things up with spectacular observing conditions for mid-month.

Today’s sponsor:  Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: Rob Leeson, David Bowes, Brett Duane, Benett Bolek, Mary Ann, Frank Frankovic, Michael Freedman, Kim Hay, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Rani Bush, Jako Danar, Joseph J. Biernat, Nik Whitehead, Michael W, Cherry Wood, Steve Nerlich, Steven Kluth, James K Wood, Katrina Ince, Phyllis Foster, Don Swartwout, Barbara Geier, Steven Jansen

Today’s sponsor: Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: David Bowes, Dustin A Ruoff, Brett Duane, Kim Hay, Nik Whitehead, Timo Sievänen, Michael Freedman, Paul Fischer, Rani Bush, Karl Bewley, Joko Danar, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Steven Jansen, Barbara Geier, Don Swartwout, James K. Wood, Katrina Ince, Michael Lewinger, Phyllis Simon Foster, Nicolo DePierro, Tim Smith, Frank Frankovic, Steve Nerlich, Zoe and Lea, Benett Bolek, Michel, Marry Ann.

Please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at

Or please visit our Patreon page:


August is good for two things in the sky: bright planets and bright meteors.  Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter reign supreme this month, with the annual Perseid Meteor Shower heating things up with spectacular observing conditions for mid-month.

         Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night. 

Naked-eye PLANETS

Sunset – Venus

  • Venus (W) – Staying about 15˚ above the horizon all month, Venus is a glorious sight for those looking West after sunset. 
  • Mars, Mercury (W)– Mars is technically in the West after sunset, but is super low, and pretty dim, so it’s doubtful you’ll be able to pick it out.  Mercury passes my Mars on the 18th, but again, it’s too low and too dim to see.

Throughout the night – Saturn, Jupiter

  • Saturn, Jupiter – Throughout August, Saturn rises around 8pm, and Jupiter just after 9pm, both in the SE.  Both gas planets rise and move southward.  In the beginning of August, they get drowned out by the dawn light in the SW in the morning.  But by the end of the month, Saturn sets at 4am, with Jupiter trailing at 5:30am.

Morning – Saturn, Jupiter

  • Saturn, Jupiter – This is the last month of seeing Jupiter and Saturn in the dawn sky.  You’ll notice that they are quite visible in the SW before sunrise, but they will be lower and lower each morning,  with Saturn disappearing in the beginning of the month, and Jupiter dipping out before the last week.


Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

New Moon – 8th (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 15th (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 22nd (Visible all night)

Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

Last Quarter Moon – 30th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

August 10th – 11thClose Encounter – Moon, Venus – Get out there and watch the sunset (8:07pm) and hang out until you see bright Venus with a thin crescent Moon directly to the right of it on the 10th.  The following night, the Moon will move to the left and up from Venus.

August 11th – 12thPerseid Meteor Shower – An EXCELLENT year for the Perseids!  In decent skies, you can watch 60 meteors per hour, and you should be able to see some very bright ones here and there the week before and after. Remember, you’re seeing the bits of dust left over from Comet Swift-Tuttle burning up as they crash into the atmosphere at 37 miles per second.

Some advice for watching:

    Find a dark location and lie down in a reclining chair or hammock

    Look toward Perseus (In the NE, rises throughout the night until sunrise where it will be almost directly above.)  That is where the radiant is – where the meteors will appear to be coming from.

    The strategy to observe this year is to get out there whenever you can, but the later you stay up, the more you’ll see, since the radiant will be higher.  The shower is usually technically active from mid-July to late August, so you may see some Perseids in the days leading up to and after the peak as well. 

Check the weather to see if the skies will be clear

Adapt your eyes to the dark by staying away from light sources or using a red light if you need to look at a star chart or not trip over something. 

If you’re feeling extra nerdy, do a scientific meteor count (S&T and IMO)

19th – 22ndClose Encounter – Moon, Saturn, Jupiter – Anytime after 9pm, get out there and look SE to find the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter.  On the 19th, they line up with Jupiter on the left, Saturn in the middle, and the Moon on the right.  After this, the Moon passes by the two gas planets, being just below Saturn on the 20th, down and to the right of Jupiter on the 21st, and to the left of both planets on the 22nd.  All three move westward throughout each night, setting between 4am and 6am.


Use a sky map from to help you out.

After Dinner, Before Bed:

Spring Constellations: Big Dipper, Bootes, Virgo, Corona Borealis, Hercules – Gaze almost vertically as you face the NW, and you’ll easily find the Big Dipper: seven very bright stars that form a spoon shape. Now if you take the handle of the Dipper, follow its curve to the next bright star you see, about 30˚ away, which is Arcturus. “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” That’s the brightest star in Bootes, which looks like a kite. Take that same curve, and follow it about another 20˚ to “speed on to Spica”, the brightest star in Virgo, one of my favorite constellations, since it reminds me of the Dickinson Mermaid.  Now go back to Bootes, and just to the left of Bootes are seven stars that form the northern crown Corona Borealis, which looks more like a small bowl or a “C” in the sky. Continue a little further to the left and you’ll find the keystone asterism which is part of the constellation Hercules. Extra Challenge! Look for M13, the Hercules Cluster in between two of Hercules’ “keystone” stars.  It known as the best globular cluster in the northern skies.  It will be a fuzzy spot in binoculars and will be even cooler through a telescope

Summer Constellations: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila – Look pretty much straight above you, and find the brightest star up there. You’ll notice a parallelogram attached to it. This is the brightest star Vega, part of the constellation Lyra, the harp. Directly above you will be Cygnus the Swan, with its brightest star Deneb. It will look like a large cross, or if you look out a little further, a swan flying above you. Below Cygnus and Lyra is the third constellation of the Summer Triangle, Aquila the Eagle, with its brightest star Altair. The three bright stars in this one can be easily confused for Orion’s belt, given their similar size, however they are not in line as straight, and are part of a bigger diamond shape.  Use a star chart to find small Delphinus and Sagitta in the area as well.

Before Work:

Pegasus, Andromeda – Look directly south and most of the way up the sky and you’ll find the very big and almost perfect square of Pegasus, the winged horse. Now if you look to the top left of the square, you’ll see three pairs of stars creating a neat double curve to the left and up from that corner star. That is Andromeda. If you have a little extra time, find the middle pair of stars, connect them with a line, and move toward the inside of the curve about the same distance as those stars are apart. There you’ll find the Andromeda Galaxy, which will be just a small faint fuzzy with your naked eye. The cool part is that you are looking at billions of stars that are 2.9 million light years away, that spread out about 150,000 light years across

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. 

This show is made possible thanks to the generous donations of people like you! Please consider supporting to our show on and get access to bonus content. 

After 10 years, the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is poised to enter its second decade of sharing important milestone in space exploration and astronomy discoveries. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!