Mercury rises at 5:21 a.m. Aug. 1, an hour before sunrise, and will be visible in the morning sky until late in the month.

Venus and Mars are not visible this month, lost in the glare of the Sun. Jupiter rises early, and by 10 p.m. shines brightly in the south, with Saturn close by, nearly as bright, in the south-southeast.

On Aug. 9, Jupiter is within only 2 degrees of the waxing gibbous moon, and three days later Saturn is less than 4 degrees from the moon. If you happen to be in Australia, you would see Saturn occulted (when a celestial object is hidden by another that passes in front of it) by the moon that evening, one of seven lunar occultations of Saturn across the globe in 2019.

The Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak on Aug. 13. The Perseids are associated with the comet 109/P Swift–Tuttle. These meteors are the debris stream of ice and rock ejected from the comet as it orbits the Sun every 133 years. The shower is called the Perseids for if you trace their paths back in the sky the meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus, the spot known as the radiant.

Some meteors associated with this shower may be visible through Aug. 20, and you might want to start viewing as early as Aug. 9. On these nights there will be considerably less intrusion of light from the 12-day-old waxing gibbous moon than during the expected peak. You may see up to 30 meteors an hour on the best nights.

The view from Mars and Earth

Question: I was wondering if the constellations look the same from the surface of Mars as they do from Earth. Are they much different? R.S., Hiram

Answer: You wouldn't notice the difference anywhere in our Solar System. Even if you went very far away and viewed the sky from a planet orbiting Sirius 8 light-years away, you still would see pretty much the same sky as you would see from Earth, as all the stars we can see are much, much further away. Imagine the galaxy as a sphere 100,000 miles across (it's actually 106,000 light-years) with us near the edge (sort of as it is) and then we move only 8 miles away on edge of the sphere (instead of 8 light-years). Only the very closest stars would appear to move. Therefore, you would have to go really quite a distance to where all the constellations were unrecognizable.

It's similar to what we have seen over the thousands of years of viewing the stars that, over long periods, do move.

Stick around for 100,000 years, and the Big Dipper will look like a Big Knife.

Farewell column

This is my last column for the Beacon Journal, as I'm retiring from the museum, and the most excellent Suzie Dills will become the new planetarium director.

Thanks to all the readers and great people who gave me useful feedback, and those who asked great questions over the last two decades. It has been a blast.

For those who still want to know why Pluto is not considered a planet- 13 years after its reclassification- check out https://www.iau.org/public/themes/pluto/ and please don’t ask ever again, thank you.

And for all of those who think the North Star is the brightest one in the night sky, come down to the planetarium before you get REALLY lost.

"The Universe at Large"

 The Hoover-Price Planetarium is presenting the “The Universe at Large” at 1 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Public shows are at 1 p.m. weekdays through Labor Day.

The planetarium is located inside the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive, N.W., in Canton, Ohio.

The planetarium seats 65, and admission is included with admission to the museum. Children must be 5 years or older to attend. The First Monday of the month program at 2 p.m. is for adults.

For more information, call the museum at 330-455-7043.