Astronomy Guide August 2021

Dear Stargazer Friends,

I hope you have been well. June and July were both privately and professionally busy months for me and I missed publishing the July issue. Also, I had a number of software issues with the setup of my new mount. It has been a summer with lots of rain and thunderstorms here in Switzerland so I didn’t really lose much stargazing time while figuring everything out. So after much delay, here it is, the Astronomy Guide August 2021!

Nights are getting longer again, at least in the northern hemisphere and now is a great time to observe the Milky Way and of course, the Perseids meteor showers that will peak on 12 August 2021. It is possible to observe them on any clear night right before and after the peak. The Perseids showers is caused by debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle and planet Earth crosses it’s orbital path every year from mid Jul till end of August.

Personally, I love August and September for stargazing – even though there are always interesting celestial objects to observe. Nights are longer again and not yet very cold. And you can have plenty of “classics” through the night: The Summer Triangle (Altair, Daneb, Vega – watch out for double star Albireo aka Beta Cyni in Cygnus) remains very well observable, and Andromeda Galaxy is now much better to observe. The Pleiades are visible again, and so are the Hyades (in Taurus; early mornings). Orion makes a shy comeback but it is yet too early for the Orion Nebula. But in any case, Red supergiant Betelgeuse is back in the early morning hours. Weather and time permitting, the perfect season for stargazing!

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey and please come back for the September issue.

Clear skies and best wishes!

Cygnus Region in Milky Way with meteor, 10 July 2021

Moon phases August 2021

New Moon 08 August, 15:50
First Quarter15 August, 17:19
Full Moon22 August, 14:01
Third Quarter30 August, 09:13
Times are local time for Bern, Switzerland


For local times go to

Mercury not be observable in August (from Bern, Switzerland).

Venus is currently in the Contellation of Virgo and observable in the evening starting 21:03 (15 August; 20:34 on 30th August) It sets around 1 h 10 after sunset. 

Mars is currently not visible (from Bern, Switzerland).

Jupiter is in the constellation of Aquarius until 18 August and after that, in the constellation of Capricorn. It rises earlier and earlier (15 August at 20:53; 30 August at 19:49) and can be observed throughout the month until dawn.

Saturn appears in the constellation of Capricorn and thus still close to Jupiter. On 15 August, it rises at 20:06 and sets on 16 August at 05:18 (04:14 on 30 August).

Uranus is visible in the constellation of Aries (visible on 15 August from 01:44 till 05:03; 30 August from 00:44 till 05:30).

Neptune is in the Constellation of Aquarius and visible all month – 15 August starting 00:06 till 05:03 and on. 30 August from 23:04 till 05:32.

Moon conjunctions with Planets

20 August: look for the Moon close to Saturn at around 22:00 h.

21 August: look for the Moon close to Saturn and Jupiter at around 22:00 h.

Partial Solar Eclipse seen from Switzerland, 10 June 2021, 12:15 h


As mentioned in the introduction, Andromeda Galaxy is now ideally visible (especially for photography) and will remain so until September/October. Other picks.

M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)6.9413h50m+67°59’18.75″
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.4113h50m+67°22’28.35″
M 1068.4116h13m+89°22’55.90″
M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)8.1017h24m+89°20’53.81″
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)7.8617h57m+82°40’39.43″
M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)8.245h56m16h45m+84°01’27.09″3h34m
M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)8.595h53m17h10m+84°55’40.56″4h26m
M 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)5.7220h41m5h26m+73°49’33.12″14h11m
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.4417h36m4h35m+84°26’18.49″15h34m

(Open) Star clusters

NGC 869 and NGC 884 double cluster (in Perseus) is wonderful to take pictures of.And, the Hydes and Pleiades (Taurus) are back – watch out after midnight! 

Cr 39 (α Per Cluster)1.207h20m+88°04’23.26″
NGC 869 (Double Cluster)3.806h12m+79°43’30.68″
NGC 884 (Double Cluster)3.806h15m+79°43’45.05″
M 394.601h23m+88°24’03.27″
IC 1396 (Elephant’s Trunk Nebula)3.501h30m+79°21’44.74″
IC 4665 (Summer Beehive Cluster)4.2015h10m21h39m+48°46’18.17″4h08m
Cr 359 (Taurus Poniatovii Cluster)3.0015h37m21h53m+45°57’49.85″4h10m
NGC 6633 (Tweedledum Cluster)4.6015h47m22h20m+49°38’41.33″4h53m
IC 4756 (Graff’s Cluster)4.6016h03m22h31m+48°34’15.25″4h59m
Cr 399 (Coathanger)3.6015h38m23h16m+63°17’01.63″6h54m
C 41 (Hyades)0.501h04m8h20m+58°58’32.85″15h36m
M 45 (Pleiades)1.2023h39m7h40m+67°14’28.91″15h40m

Bright nebulae

It’s still time to take pictures of the North America Nebula in Cygnus. And later in the night, watch out for the Pleiades with the Merope Nebula.

NGC 7000 (North America Nebula)4.000h50m+87°26’53.92″
IC 1396 (Elephant’s Trunk Nebula)3.501h30m+79°21’44.74″
IC 50765.690h47m+89°23’32.68″
M 17 (Omega Nebula)6.0017h21m22h13m+26°55’09.55″3h05m
M 16 (Eagle Nebula)6.0017h08m22h11m+29°16’48.62″3h15m
IC 12875.5017h07m22h25m+32°17’25.25″3h42m
NGC 1435 (Merope Nebula)4.1823h40m7h39m+67°01’29.54″15h38m

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