New Moon (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night Education)

This Week’s Sky: August 17 to 23, 2020

It’s a quiet week — but you can use the New Moon time to take a good look at the stars.

Wednesday, August 19 at 2:42 GMT – New Moon

New Moon (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night Education)

At its new phase, the Moon is travelling between Earth and the Sun. Since sunlight is only reaching the far side of the Moon, and the Moon is in the same region of the sky as the Sun, the Moon will be completely hidden from view for about a day.

Saturday, August 22 from 6:32 GMT to 8:15 GMT – Rare double shadow transit on Jupiter

Rare double shadow transit on Jupiter (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night Education)

From time to time, the little round, black shadows cast by Jupiter’s four Galilean moons become visible in backyard telescopes as they cross (or transit) the planet’s disk. During the wee hours of Saturday, August 22, observers in the western half of North America can witness a rare double shadow transit. At 1:32 a.m. CDT (or 06:32 GMT) Ganymede’s large shadow will join Io’s already-transiting smaller shadow. The pair will cross Jupiter together for nearly two hours, until Io’s shadow moves off Jupiter at 3:15 a.m. CDT (or 08:15 GMT).

Chris Vaughan is a science writer, geophysicist, astronomer, planetary scientist and an “outreach RASCal.” He writes Astronomy Skylights, and you can follow him on Twitter at @astrogeoguy. He can also bring his Digital Starlab portable inflatable planetarium to your school or other daytime or evening event. Contact him through to tour the universe together.