This month, North Americans can view a spectacle that few living persons have witnessed.
On Aug. 21, the moon will cover the sun in a total solar eclipse. The totality of the eclipse is confined to about 140 miles wide and bound to a narrow path from Oregon on the West Coast to the Carolinas and Georgia on the East Coast.
We are not in the path of totality, but we should see about 90 percent of the sun's disk covered. This occurs from about 7:47 a.m. to 2:04 p.m.
The last total solar eclipse for North America occurred on Feb. 26, 1979.
The sun, of course, is many thousands of times larger than our moon, but from Earth, the diameters are similar and so solar (and lunar) eclipses can occur. As far as astronomers can tell, this can only occur on planet Earth. Don't miss it!
Evening "stars" this month include Jupiter and Saturn, both easily visible throughout the evening. Our sole morning "star" is Venus. These may even be visible during nighttime offered by the eclipse.
The only meteor shower is one of the better ones, with about 50 per hour. It's the Perseids at pre-dawn on Aug. 11-13.
Zodiacal constellations include Scorpius (the scorpion), Sagittarius (the archer), and Capricorn (the sea goat). Overhead are Lyra (the harp), with the star Vega, Hercules (the strongman), and Cygus (the swan), part of which is the "asterism" called the Northern Cross.
These are all interesting, but don't miss the solar eclipse! You'll have to wait until April 8, 2024 for the next one.