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THE SKY THIS MONTH: Free Perseids meteor shower night at Binbrook Conservation Area

By Mario Carr, special to the News

The Hamilton Amateur Astronomers Perseids Meteor shower night at Binbrook Conservation Area has always been a favourite, drawing hundreds of visitors from as far away as Toronto.
This year, the free event will be held Aug. 16 at Binbrook Conservation Area, 5050 Harrison Rd., Binbrook ,from 8-11 p.m.
The shower peaks Aug. 12-13, but moonlight will create poor observing conditions so organizers changed the date. Since the date is close to the peak, you should see plenty of meteors. The Perseids Meteor shower continues until Aug. 22.
If you plan to attend, bring a blanket, groundsheet or lounge chair because lying down is the best way to enjoy the meteors. Also, mosquitoes could be nasty, so apply repellent and wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. There will also be a night sky tour, a display of meteorites and telescope observing.
There will also be a volunteer collection of non-perishable items for local food banks. The event may be cancelled due to the weather so check the club’s website for details.
Here are August stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching
Mercury is behind the sun, but reappears in the evening sky at the end of the month. Venus is in the northeast morning twilight sky. Mars is seen in the western evening sky setting late evening. By mid-month, Jupiter reappears low in the northeast morning twilight sky. Saturn is low in the southwest evening sky setting late evening.
Aug. 10: Tonight’s full moon will be a supermoon. It’s the largest full moon for all 2014.
Aug. 18: Venus and Jupiter are extremely close near the Beehive Cluster and the Moon in the morning sky.
Aug. 23: Venus and Jupiter near the moon in the morning sky.
Aug. 24: Mars and Saturn are close for the next two nights in the evening sky.
Aug. 27: The moon is near Mercury at sunset.
Aug. 29: Neptune is at opposition and is closest to the Earth for all 2014.
Aug. 31: The moon is close to Mars and Saturn forming a tight triangle low in the evening sky.
For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at or call 905-627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members. Mario Carr, the author of this report, is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at

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