I got a couple e-mails that got me all excited to watch the sky this month. The e-mails were titled "Spectacular!" and if you read it quickly they made it seem like Mars would appear as big as the moon to the naked eye on August 16th. I thought that was pretty cool until I looked it up on snopes.
The truth is that way back in August 2003, if you had looked through a 75 power telescope, you could have gotten a great view of Mars. But to the naked eye, the casual observer wouldn't have even noticed. And that was in 2003. This year, the e-mail is completely untrue, with someone having switched out the years. Too bad.
What is true, is that all month you can watch a meteor shower if you can find a high spot on a clear night, away from city lights. Peaking on August 12th, the Perseid meteor shower will allow us earthlings to observe as many as 100 "shooting stars" per hour this month.