What's up August 30 - September 5
Posted August 30, 2020 5:28 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2020 5:32 p.m. EDT
Sunday August 30
SpaceX plans the launch of Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B radar observation satellite, plus a pair of secondary payloads for PlanetiQ and Tyvak. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:19 pm from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida though the launch weather forecasts shows only 40% go conditions with thick lightning producing clouds as a primary concern. You can watch the launch attempt live on the SpaceX YouTube channel. The company plans to land the Falcon 9 booster back at Cape Canaveral and has also dispatched a pair of ships with giant nets to catch the returning payload fairings for reuse.
Look low on the southwestern horizon for the Hubble Space Telescope. The darker your southern sky the better your chance to catch a glimpse of the bus-sized telescope. It should begin to clear the treeline at 8:08 pm, moving to right to left before setting on the southeastern horizon seven minutes later. It will be due south, 27 degrees above the horizon (a bit more than twice the width of your outstretched fist) at 8:11 pm. This is one of the brightest passes of the Hubble in a while.
Monday August 31
The Aurigid meteor shower peaks this evening. Even under the best conditions, only six meteors per hour are expected and the nearly full Moon will likely hide most meteor activity. Still, if you see a streak of light coming from a northern direction, it is likely coming from remnants left behind from comet C/1911 N1 (Kiess).
The ISS will rise from the north-northwest at 5:40 am skimming across the treeline before setting on the northern horizon less than two minutes later.
Tuesday September 1
Over at launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX plans the launch of another batch of Starlink satellites at 9:29 AM. You can watch the launch live on the SpaceX Youtube channel.
Wednesday September 2
Venus reaches the highest point in the predawn sky for the year. Look in the eastern sky anytime between when it rises shortly before 3:30 am and about 30-45 minutes before sunrise. The later you look, the higher it will be in the sky
Thursday September 3
Early risers look high in the west-northwestern sky beginning around 5:20 am, over the next fifteen minutes , a string of more than three dozen SpaceX Starlink satellites will appear out of the Earth's shadow. The brightest of the flock will appear first with that last dozen or so appearing a bit more dimly, Each will set on the northwest horizon about four minutes later. Only the Sun outshines Venus.
Saturday September 5
Look low in the eastern sky beginning around 11 pm for the Moon and Mars separated by less than half a degree.