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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 14 to Thursday June 21

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, June 20.  Venus is high in the early evening sky and forms a shallow triangle with the bright stars Pollux and Castor. On the 16th the thin crescent Moon form a triangle with Venus and Pollux. On the 20th Venus is close to the unaided eye Beehive cluster. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Jupiter is still close to the bright star alpha Librae all this week. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies.  Asteroid Vesta  is closest to  open cluster M23 this week and at opposition on the 20th, when it is potentially visible to the unaided eye. Mercury returns to the evening skies.

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, June 20. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to Earth, on Friday 15 June. Earth is at Solstice, when the day is shortest, on the 21st.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday June 16 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:11 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus forms a triangle  with the crescent Moon and the star Pollux in Gemini. The inset shows a simulated telescopic view of Venus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus is now visible in the early evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from sunset, easy to see 30-60 minutes after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset.During the week Venus heads towards the iconic Beehive cluster in Cancer.

Evening sky on Saturday June 16 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:41 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae. Saturn is just rising.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 21:57 ACST, on the 17th with Europa passing across the face of Jupiter. Europa's shadow follows around an hour later.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen).


Evening sky on Saturday June 9 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is clearly visible. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars (and may be visible to the unaided eye) near Saturn. The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Saturn and its moons.


Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).



Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open clusters M24, M23 and Vesta on Saturday June 9 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is near the open cluster M23 just over from the iconic and easily recognisable trifid nebula. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time.









Evening sky on Thursday June 21 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 17:40 ACST (30 minutes after Sunset). Mercury is just above the horizon below Venus.





Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen). 

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and easy to see 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is over two hand-spans above the horizon. Especially if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon. On the 16th Venus forms a triangle  with the crescent Moon and the star Pollux in Gemini.Venus then heads towards the iconic open cluster the Beehive and just skims the edge of the cluster on the 20th. This is best viewed in binoculars, and the brightness of Venus will make it hard to see the beehive with the unaided eye.

Mercury is returns to the evening skies late this week. By the end of the week it is visible if you have a flat, level horizon, close to Pollux and below Venus.

Jupiter  is rising in the early evening. It was at Opposition on the 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening and is highest around 21:30 local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is still within a finger-width of  the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the late evening, although best telescopically in the morning. Mars is brightening ahead of opposition later this year and is now quite bright (although it will get brighter still) and readily recognisable in the late evening. In a telescope you may see few features as a huge dust storm is sweeping the planet.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, and is now a worthwhile telescopic object in the late evening sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces.

Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It will be at opposition on the 20th, when it will be magnitude 5.3, and could possibly be visible from suburban sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling near the open cluster M23. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time and is not far from the iconic Trifid nebula. Printable spotters charts are here.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 7 to Thursday June 14

The New Moon is Thursday, June 14.  Venus is high in the early evening sky and forms a line with the bright stars Pollux and Castor. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Jupiter is still close to the bright star alpha Librae all this week. Venus is setting as Saturn is rising. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies.  Asteroid Vesta heads towards  open cluster M23 and is potentially visible to the unaided eye.

The New Moon is Thursday, June 14. 

Evening twilight sky on Saturday June 9 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Venus forms a line with the  stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini. The inset shows a simulated telescopic view of Venus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus is now visible in the early evening. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from sunset, easy to see 30-60 minutes after sunset and can viewed  at least 90 minutes after sunset.

Evening sky on Saturday June 9 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:42 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae. Saturn is just rising.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 19:36 ACST, on the 10th with Europa and its shadow passing across the face of Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen).

Evening sky on Saturday June 9 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is clearly visible. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars near Saturn. The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Saturn and its moons.


Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).




Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open clusters M24, M23 and Vesta on Saturday June 9 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling above the open cluster M24 heading towards the open cluster M23. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon. It is over two hand-spans above the horizon 60 minutes after sunset. It is bright enough to be visible just after sunset and easy to see up to 90 minutes after sunset, especially if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon. Vens heads towards the bright star Pollux and forms a line with the  stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini on the 9th.

Mercury is no longer visible will return to the evening skies mid June.

Jupiter  is rising in the early evening as Venus is setting. It was at Opposition on the 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the mid to  late evening. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is still within a finger-width of  the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the late evening. Mars is brightening ahead of opposition later this year.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, and is now a worthwhile telescopic object in the late eening sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces.

Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling above the open cluster M24 heading towards the open cluster M23. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time.Printable spotters chars are here.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

 

Seeing Vesta at Opposition (June 2018)

Evening sky showing the location of the asteroid 4 Vesta on 20 June when at opposition. The view is looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is clearly visible. The Asteroid Vesta is visible to the north near Saturn. (click to embiggen, similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time).Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open cluster M24 and Vesta on Monday June 4 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Vesta is above M24 and in a direct line with Mu Sag and Kaus Borealis. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The Asteroid 4 Vesta is one of the iconic minor planets, and one of two orbited by the Dawn spacecraft. Importantly at favourable oppositions Vesta is bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions.


Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing showing the movement of 4 Vesta over the next 30 days. Click to embiggen and print. 
 
Alternatively, here is  downloadable  Black and white PDF binocular chart suitable for printing. The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Use the horizon chart above for orientation first.

This year is one of the best oppositions of Vesta, when it will reach a magnitude of 5.3-5.4 at its brightest. Vesta is at opposition on June 20, and is the best opposition since 2000 (and will not be surpassed until 2029). For those interested it is in a series of oppositions this year (Jupiter May 9, Saturn June 27, and Mars July 27 (best Mars opposition since 2003). Vesta will also pass by some interesting clusters and Nebula.

Vesta will be potentially visible under dark sky conditions. While it is substantially above the magnitude 6 limit for unaided eye visibility, local sky conditions, the number of stars of similar brightness, interference from moonlight and how good your eyesight is may conspire to make it difficult to see. It is however easily visible in binoculars, and if you locate it in binoculars first it will be easier to pick up. You may need to watch it over several nights to see it move and confirm its identity.

On the other hand this year Vesta has some excellent signposts to it, early in June it can be triangulated using Saturn, Mu Sagittarii, the star that forms the “lid” of the teapot of Sagittarius and Kaus Australis at the top of the teapot and the brightest star just above Saturn.

On the 4th and 5th, Kaus Australis, Mu Sagittarii and Vesta are almost in a straight line. Vesta is around half the distance between Mu Sag and Kaus Australis in a straight line north of  Mu Sag above M24.

For the first half of June, sweep north from Saturn until you reach the last obvious brightish star, this is Mu Sagittarii, just beyond and blow this is the obvious and rambling open cluster M24. Just above M24, almost in line with Mu Sagittarii the brightest object visible is Vesta. You may need to watch it over several night to see it move to ensure you have the right object.

From around the 14th sweep up from Mu Sagittarii to the iconic and beautiful Trifid nebula, then sweep across (north) to the dim open cluster M23. Vesta will be near this cluster.
While Vesta will be at opposition on the 20th, it will be brightest from the 19th to 22nd. Unfortunately by then the waxing Moon will begin to interfere, but if you find a large object to block the Moons light out and preserve your might vision, you should have no problems seeing Vesta.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

 

[Aurora Alert] Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (1-3 June)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic warning and aurora watch for 1-3 June (UT) due to ongoing solar wind streams from a coronal hole. This anytime the UT day on the 1st, with activity possibly extending out to the 3rd.  The SWS predicts active conditions with the possibility of outbreaks of minor storms.  The Space Weather Prediction Service predicts G1 storms will occur between 7am and 4 pm on the 2nd (ie during daylight), however they may arrive earlier or later.

If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania weather permitting. The Moon is waxing to full and will significantly interfere with seeing aurora. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

This event is unlikely to be spectacular, but still worth a look as viewing conditions are good.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences". A double arc,  blobs, and curtains were seen in Septembers aurora  last despite the moonlight.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is still not available.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 18/11
ISSUED AT 0005UT/30 MAY 2018
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

On 1 June geomagnetic activity is expected to increase to Active
and Minor Storm levels due to arrival of the corotating interaction
region and high-speed solar wind streams associated with the
recurrent trans-equatorial coronal hole.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FOR 01 JUNE 2018
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
01 Jun:  Active
_____________________________________________________________
SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 2347 UT ON 30 May 2018 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A coronal hole is rotating into a geoeffective position that is
favourable for possible Auroral activity. There is an increased chance
of Auroral activity between 1 June and 3 June. Warnings and/or alerts
will follow if significant geomagnetic activity actually occurs.

Visit the SWS Aurora webpage http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora for current
aurora viewing conditions.

Our Aurora forecasting tool, located at
http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora/3/1, may help to estimate regions
from where aurora would be visible.

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Southern Skywatch June 2018 edition is now out!

Evening sky on Saturday June 2 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST.  Saturn and Mars are clearly visible and the waning Moon is between Mars and Saturn. Vesta is visible in binoculars.

The inset to the right is a simulated telescopic view of Saturn and the globular cluster M22.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The June edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

This month still sees all of the bright planetary action in the evening sky. Speedy Mercury returns to the evening sky late in the month, Venus and Jupiter are prominent in the evening sky and Mars and Saturn rise higher in the evening sky.

Venus is close to the Beehive cluster on the 20th. 

Jupiter is close to alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) at the begining of the month and the Moon on the 23rd.

 Mars is becoming brighter

Saturn is close to the globular cluster M22 this month and is at opposition on the 27th.

Vesta is at opposition and potentially visible to the unaided eye on the 20th.



June 23; Moon close to Jupiter. June 1-3, June 28-30; Mars, Saturn  and Moon close

June 3, June 30; Moon at Apogee.  June 15 Moon at Perigee.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 31 to Thursday June 7

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday, June 7.  Venus is high in the early evening sky. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Jupiter is close to the bright star alpha Librae all this week. Venus is setting as Jupiter is rising. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. The waning Moon is close to Saturn on June 1, between Saturn and Mars on June 2 and close to Mars on June 3. Asteroid Vesta leaves  M24 and heads towards M23.

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday, June 7. The Moon is at Apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on June 3.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday June 2 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:11 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is close to stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini. The inset shows a simulated telescopic view of Venus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus is now visible in the early evening. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from sunset, easy to see 30-60 minutes after sunset and can viewed  up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Evening sky on Saturday June 2 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:42 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 18:27 ACST, on the 3rd with Europa and its shadow passing across the face of Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen).


Evening sky on Saturday June 2 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is clearly visible. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars near Saturn. The Moon is between Saturn and Mars.



Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).



Binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open cluster M24 and Vesta on Saturday June 2 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Vesta is now bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling past the northern edge of the open cluster M24 heading towards the open cser M23. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon. It is over two hand-spans above the horizon 60 minutes after sunset. It is bright enough to be visible just after sunset and easy to see up to 60 minutes after sunset. Venus can be viewed for at least 90 minutes after sunset if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon.

Mercury is no longer visible i te twilight glow, and will return to the evening skies mid June.

Jupiter  is rising in the early evening as Venus is setting. It was at Opposition on the 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the mid to  late evening. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. Over the week Jupiter is within a finger-width of  the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the late evening. Mars is moving away from Saturn and  brightening ahead of opposition later this year. The waning Moon is close to Mars on the 2nd and 3rd.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, although telescopically it is still best in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces. Saturn is close to the Moon on the1st and 2nd.

The asteroid Vesta is now bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling along the northern edge of the open cluster M24. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move and be sure of its identity. Printable spotters chars are here.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 24 to Thursday May 31

The Full Moon is Wednesday, May 30.  Venus is high in the early evening sky. On May 28 Venus is close to the brightish star Metsuba. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. The Moon is close to Jupiter on the 27th and 28th. At this time Jupiter is close to the bright star alpha Librae. Venus is setting as Jupiter is rising. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. Saturn is close to the globular cluster M22. The Moon is close to Saturn on May 31. Asteroid Vesta passes  M24. Mercury is low in the morning skies.

The Full Moon is Wednesday, May 30. 


Evening twilight sky on Saturday May 26 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:13 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is close to the brightish star Metsuba. The inset shows a simulated telescopic view of Venus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus is now high in the late twilight. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from sunset, easy to see 30-60 minutes after sunset and can viewed  up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Evening sky on Sunday May 27 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACST. Jupiter is  high above the horizon, Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. the Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars near Saturn

The inset to the left  is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 23:45 ACST, on the 26th with Io passing across the face of Jupiter. The inset to the right is a simulated telescopic view of Saturn and the globular cluster M22.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open cluster M24 and Vesta on Sunday May 27 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACST. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Vesta is now bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling through the northern edge of the open cluster M24. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move.

Morning sky on Saturday May 26 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:44 ACST (30 minutes before sunrise). Mercury is the brightest object closest to the eastern horizon.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes before sunrise).



 Venus  is now sufficiently high in the evening twilight to be readily visible above the horizon. It is nearly two hand-spans above the horizon 60 minutes after sunset. It is bright enough to be visible just after sunset and easy to see up to 60 minutes after sunset. Venus can be viewed for at least 90 minutes after sunset if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon.

Venus s close to the brightish star Metsuba on May 28.

Mercury is rapidly heading towards the horizon. This is the last week that it is readily observable in the morning sky and is the brightest object above the eastern horizon.

Jupiter  is rising in the early evening as Venus is setting. It was at Opposition on the 9th, and is still visible all night long. It is  a good telescopic object in the late evening. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. Over the week Jupiter comes closer to the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and is close on the 27th and 28th, when the waxing Moon visits Jupiter.

 Mars is in Sagittarius the archer and is now rising in the late evening. Mars is moving away from Saturn although the pair are still obvious.  Mars is brightening ahead of opposition later this year.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, although telescopically it is still best in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces. Saturn is close to the Moon on May 31.

The asteroid Vesta is now bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling along the northern edge of the open cluster M24. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move and be sure of its identity. Printable spotters chars are here.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

 

Seeing Vesta near M24 (May 2018)

Evening sky on Thursday May 17 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Saturn and Mars are clearly visible above the horizon. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars to the left (north) of Saturn. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open cluster M24 and Vesta on Thursday May 17 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Vest will be close to M24 for around a week. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The asteroid 4 Vesta is now easily visible in binoculars, and is just under unaided eye visibility. It is brightening towards its opposition on 19 June, when it will be a potentially unaided eye object at magnitude 5.3.

Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing showing the movement of 4 Vesta over the next 30 days. Click to embiggen and print.

Now in Sagittarius, it is skimming along side the open cluster M24. This will look particularly nice in binoculars and wide field telescopes.

Locate Saturn in binoculars and sweep left (north) until you reach an obvious open cluster (M24). Vesta is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, and starts at the bottom of the cluster, then moves up over subsequent days. 

You may need to watch over several nights to watch it move and confirm its identity. Towards the end of the month the waxing Moon will make the asteroid harder to see.

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