Skip to content

Star gazing: August brings two full moons that are bigger and brighter

A monthly video star gazing guide presented by The Great Orbax
The Great Orbax.

Each month, GuelphToday will share a Star Gazing Guide presented and organized by The Great Orbax, a science communcator from the University of Guelph's Department of Physics and local science education advocate.

Greetings Star Gazers!

Orbax here.

I’m a science communicator from the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph and I’m here to fill you in on what our August night skies hold for the astro-curious out there, young and old.

Our month starts and ends with a bang in August with a full moon on the first and on the 30th! Not only is it rare to have two full moons in one month, but these are also super moons, meaning they’ll appear about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than your usual full moon.

Speaking of brighter than usual objects in the night sky, on August 27th the planet Saturn will be in opposition. This astronomy term simply means Saturn will be directly opposite the Sun from our perspective and as a result is the most illuminated it will be all year. 

It will be visible all night long in the southern sky and if you happen to have a telescope, or really good binoculars, you should be able to see Saturn, its rings and its moons.

Now we often hear a lot of talk about meteor showers in the media, and more often than not we either miss out on them or just can’t seem to get lucky enough to spot them. That’s why I’m going to tell you about the Perseids. The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that occurs every August and at its peak it’s possible to see upwards of 60 meteors per hour! 

The peak will occur on the night of August 12th and the morning of the 13th, but these meteor showers should continue through most of the month so there are lots of chances to see some shooting stars. Look towards the constellation Perseus in the north-east

for a chance to watch the debris from comet Swift-Tuttle burn up in our atmosphere.

I hope you enjoy this month’s Star Gazing Guide. If you want to learn more about what’s happening in August or just get more details about the phenomena I mentioned above check out our August Star Gazing Guide video on YouTube. 

Not only is Star Gazing a great way to learn about space, planets and the stars but it’s a great way to spend time with other curious minds.

Until next month I hope you take some time… to look up.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.