Here's what happened this month, and What's Up next :-)

August: August 5th, while Mars shined in the western sky, NASA's Rover Curiosity landed on the red planet. All month long Mars, Saturn, Spica and the moon have been forming into geometric designs. On the 21st, a diamond with the moon below. On the 22nd, a straight line recalling a baseball diamond with the moon in left field, Mars at third base, Spica at home plate. Saturn just stole first base. We had an interesting planetary lineup on August 12, when the Earth plowed into the wide cometary debris cloud from comet Swift-Tuttle. You could have seen Perseids from July 17th through August 24th. We saw plenty on August 10th and 11th from the Glacier Point Star Party! Dozens of shooting stars well before midnight thrilled hundreds of park guests, when they weren't looking through telescopes. Then on the 13th, a daytime occultation of Venus by the foreground object, our moon. I watched from work, snapped a few naked eye pictures, here's my writeup .

Sidewalk astronomy this weekend will probably just  be the moon. With a chance at Mars and Saturn, trees and buildings notwithstanding. Aug 24th in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd between Pasadena and Fair Oaks Avenues, where ever we find parking. August 25th in Monrovia at Library Park. September 15 would be our dark sky getaway night this month - if you are interested (weather and heat depending) send me an email.  We typically drive 150+ miles one way to Amboy Crater (south of Mojave National Preserve) to avoid light pollution. You won't believe the Milky Way from a dark site. This isn't a camping site, but a paved parking lot next to the crater, with pit toilets, picnoc tables and a great morning hike. If it's too hot we probably won't go.

September: International Observe the Moon Night is our regular sidewalk Astronomy night event Saturday September 22nd, so join us as we join astronomers around the world sharing moon views! Friday the 21st is our Pasadena night. Other than that, planets at dawn - a gorgeous Moon and very close Jupiter on September 8th. Venus is lovely in the 3 hours before dawn. And another pretty evening conjunction will find Mars and the moon close together at Sunset on the 19. For those interested in buying a telescope, the annual  Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show happens in Pasadena September 22 and 23. You can buy PATS tickets in person at the box office on the day of the event ($20) or in advance. You can also mail payment along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Call for details: (626) 449-7360.

Heads up for October, our twice-a-year Mojave national Preserve Star Party is scheduled  for October 12 and 13.  Although the event is not on the MNP conservancy website the last two star parties info is there. The Star Party is Free, with free campsite, but you do need to RSVP to hold a campsite (it's a huge area at Black Canyon Group Campsite, with room for quite a few tents) RSVP with David Lamfrom at or 760-219-4916

Jane Houston Jones
Monrovia, CA 
What's Up for August video: Mars as Curiosity lands, Perseids