.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

 

The Moon and Jupiter spectacularly close together (Thursday, 20 February 2020)

Morning sky at 5:00 AEDST facing east as seen from Sydney on Thursday, February 20. Jupiter is well above the horizon. The Moon is around 17' from Jupiter, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces. The inset is the wide field view at 5:00 AM AEDST, when Jupiter and the Moon are closest.Morning sky at 5:00 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Thursday, February 20. Jupiter is well above the horizon. The Moon is around 15' from Jupiter, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces. The inset is the wide field view at 5:00 AM ACDST. Morning sky at 3:30 AWST facing east as seen from Perth on Thursday, February 20. Jupiter is well above the horizon. The Moon is around 38' from Jupiter, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars. The inset is the wide field view at 3:30 AM AWST.

On the morning of Thursday February 20th the Moon and Jupiter will be spectacularly close. Jupiter and the Moon are closest around 1800 UT 19 February (around 5:oo am AEDST and 4:00 am AEST, 20 Feb in Australia), but at this time the moon is below the horizon in Perth and very low  in Adelaide and Darwin. The pair will look spectacular with the unaided eye, but excellent in binoculars or telescopes (well except Perth for mots telescopes).

For Perth 3:30 am is when the Moon is nearly two hand-spans above the horizon and the Moon and Jupiter 38 arc minutes apart, very nice in binoculars but just out of reach of most wide-field telescope eye pieces.

For Adelaide 5:00 am ACDST is a good comprise, The Moon is nearly 3 hand-spans above the horizon and the Moon and Jupiter are 15 arc minutes apart.

Darwin is best around 4:30 ACST when the Moon is nearly two hand-spans above the horizon and the Moon and Jupiter are 44 arc minutes apart.

The east coast and Adelaide are favoured for telescopic views, but binocular views will be excellent from all locations.

You may wish to try some astrophotography with a mobile phone or a point and shoot camera. Follow the links for hints on imaging the Moon (and thus Jupiter) with these systems.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Monday, February 17, 2020

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 20 to Thursday February 27

The  New Moon is Monday, February 24. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight and is joined by the crescent Moon on the 27th. Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is moving through the heart of the Milky Way. Mars leaves behind the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae and heads towards the globular cluster M22. Jupiter is visible below Mars and above Saturn. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter on the 20th and close to Saturn on the 21st. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim but may brighten.

The  New Moon is Monday, February 24.Apogee, when the Moon is furthest from the Earth, is on the 26th.

Sky at 20:52 ACDST on Thursday, February 27 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky close to the thin crescent Moon. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.





Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.




Morning sky at 5:00 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Thursday, February 20, .


Jupiter is higher above well above the horizon and Saturn appears below it. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces. The inset is the wide field view at 5:00 AM ACDST, when Jupiter and the Moon are closest

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (eg 5:00 Sydney/Melbourne, 4:30 Brisbane, 3:30 Perth) .


Morning sky at 5:25 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Friday, February 21, 60 minutes before sunrise.

Three bright planets are now dominate the morning skies. Mars is now well above the horizon. Mars is in some interesting binocular territory as it crosses the milky way closing in on Jupiter.

On the 21st the Moon is close to Saturn ending the Moons visit to these bright planets with a glorious sight.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Evening sky looking north at 20:53 ACDST on Saturday, February 22 (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star below the "saucepan" of Orion. Red Aldebaran is almost the same height above the horizon as red Betelgeuse, making brightness comparisons easy.

It is suggested that Betelgeuse may begin brightening again soon, so keep watching this iconic star.

Betelgeuse is a red giant star which forms a distinctive part of the Constellation of Orion. It is a variable star, with small fluctuations in brightness not visible to the casual observer.

Betelgeuse has dimmed substantially and is now reportedly around magnitude 1.6, it is visibly dimmer than magnitude 1 Aldebaran and roughly as bright as Bellatrix. The next brightest star just to the north of Betelgeuse. Keep an eye on this historic dimming event, observing hints and stars for magnitude estimation are given here. The waning nd new moon will not interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuse' brightness during the week. Beteguese may start brightening agai around the 21st.

Venus is prominent above the western horizon in the early evening sky. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset.Venus is visited by the Moon on the 27th.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Three bright planets are visible in the morning sky.

 Mars is visible high in the morning twilight. Mars leaves the Triffid and lagoon Nebulaeheading for the globular cluster M22 and Jupiter.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width apart) on the 20th and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning twilight and is visited by the Moon on the 21st.


Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.




Star Map via Virtual sky. Use your mouse to scroll around and press 8 when your pointer is in the map to set to current time.

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/

Labels:


Sunday, February 16, 2020

 

Mars shoots between the Triffid and Lagoon Nebulae (17-19 February)

Morning sky at 5:52 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Monday, February 17, 60 minutes before sunrise. The inset is the binocular view of Mars and the nebulae on the 17th. click to embiggenMorning sky at 5:55 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Tuesday, February 18, 60 minutes before sunrise. The inset is the binocular view of Mars and the nebulae on the 18th, when the grouping is at its most spectacular. click to embiggen

On the 17th to 19th Mars crosses between the triffid and lagoon Nebulae.O n the 18th, when the grouping is at its most spectacular. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th which may make the nebulae harder to see.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (60 minutes before sunrise).

Labels: , , ,


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

 

Will Betelguese Brighten in the Coming Fortnight?

Recent light curve of Betelgeuse from the light curve generator at the AAVSO. I have used a mean of 3 days observations (with error bars) to give a better idea of the average brightness over time (click to embiggen).

As has been reported widely, the red-giant Betelgeuse has been dimming and is now dimmer than has been measured visually in the last 50 years.

This has caused considerable excitement in the astronomical community, but although Betelgeuse is "close" to the end of its lifespan, it is unlikely to go supernova any-time soon (maybe 100,000 years from now).

There has been a lot of speculation over why Betelgeuse is dimming. The leading theory is that it is a chance alignment of it's natural variability cycle. Betelgeuse is a variable star with a complex cycle of dimming and brightening, there is a dominant period of 420 days, superimposed on a long period of 5-6 years and a shorter-term variability of around 180 days. An early Astronomers telegram at the beginning of the "fainting"suggests that the "the current faintness of Betelgeuse appears to arise from the coincidence of the star being near the minimum light of the ~5.9-yr light-cycle as well as near, the deeper than usual, minimum of the ~425-d period".

A more recent Astronomers telegram has reported improved modelling of these cycles and predicts if the cycles are the cause, Betelgeuse should start brightening  on February 21 (± 7 days). That means it could start brightening as early at Feb 14 or as late as the 29th. Some more explanation and graphs are available at this Space Weather article (scroll down).

Whatever happens in the next fortnight and beyond, observation by multiple observers are required during this critical time period.  See spotters maps and brightness guide stars below.

Regardless of cause, Betelgeuse is the dimmest and coolest it has been since photometry began 25 years ago, and may even have shrunk to 92% of its previous diameter.



Evening sky looking north at 21:42 ACDST on Saturday, February 15 (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star below the "saucepan" of Orion. Red Aldebaran is almost the same height above the horizon as red Betelgeuse, making brightness comparisons easy.

In order to avoid the Purkinje effect, where red stars seem to become brighter the longer you stare at them, you need to keep shifting your gaze around. Try bracketing the star with observations of stars brighter and dimmer. to get a good comparison. A more comprehensive guide to observing variable stars is here. Different observers will have slightly different estimates. My last estimate was Betelguese was a trace under 1.7 and Les Dalrymple had it a trace over. Try not to let your expectations bias what you are seeing. Comparison sttar magnitudes are given below.
 

Spotters chart of stars suitable for estimating the brightness of Betelgeuse. Nearby Aldebaran (magnitude 0.85) also red, is a good comparison star. Bellatrix, the other shoulder star of Orion opposite Betelgeuse is magnitude 1.6. The middle star of Orion's belt, Alnilam is magnitude 1.7 and Adhara in Canis Major is Magnitude 1.5. Wezen, near Adhara, is 1.8 and Saiph in Orion is 2.1.

Labels: , ,


Monday, February 10, 2020

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 13 to Thursday February 20

The  Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, February 16. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight. Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is visible in below the body of Scorpius the Scorpion moving through the heart of the Milky Way. Mars is between the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae on the 18th and 19th. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.  Jupiter is visible below Mars and above Saturn. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter on the 20th. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim but may brighten.

The  Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, February 16. 


Sky at 21:09 ACDST on Saturday, February 15 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky. The inset shows the telescopic view at this time.





Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.


Morning sky at 5:55 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Tuesday, February 18, 60 minutes before sunrise.

Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is now well above the horizon and is below the body of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars is in some interesting binocular territory as it crosses the milky way.

On the 17th to 19th Mars crosses between the triffid and lagoon Nebulae. The inset is the binocular view of Mars and the nebulae on the 18th, when the grouping is at its most spectacular. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).


Morning sky at 5:00 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Thursday, February 20, .


Jupiter is well above the horizon and Saturn appears below it. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces. The inset is the wide field view at 5:00 AM ACST, when Jupiter and the Moon are closest

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (eg 5:00 Sydney/Melbourne, 4:30 Brisbane) .


Evening sky looking north at 21:42 ACDST on Saturday, February 15 (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star below the "saucepan" of Orion. Red Aldebaran is almost the same height above the horizon as red Betelgeuse, making brightness comparisons easy.

Betelgeuse is a red giant star which forms a distinctive part of the Constellation of Orion. It is a variable star, with small fluctuations in brightness not visible to the casual observer.

Betelgeuse has dimmed substantially and is now reportedly around magnitude 1.6, it is visibly dimmer than magnitude 1 Aldebaran and roughly as bright as Bellatrix. The next brightest star just to the north of Betelgeuse. Keep an eye on this historic dimming event, observing hints and stars for magnitude estimation are given here. The waning moon will  not substantially interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuse' brightness during the week. It is suggested that Betelgeuse may begin brightening again soon, so keep an eye out.

Venus is prominent above the western horizon in the early evening sky. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Three bright planets are visible in the morning sky.

 Mars is visible high in the morning twilight. It is below the scorpion, Scorpius, this week.On the 17th to 19th Mars crosses between the triffid and lagoon Nebulae. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width apart) on the 20th and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning twilight.


Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.




Star Map via Virtual sky. Use your mouse to scroll around and press 8 when your pointer is in the map to set to current time.

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/

Labels:


Monday, February 03, 2020

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 6 to Thursday February 13

The  Full Moon is Sunday, February 9. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight. Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is visible in the morning sky below the body of Scorpius the Scorpion moving through the heart of the Milky Way.  Jupiter is visible below Mars and above Saturn. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim.

The  Full Moon is Sunday, February 9.  The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on February 11.


Sky at 21:17 ACDST on Saturday, February 8 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky. The inset shows the telescopic view at this time.





Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.


Morning sky at 5:42 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Saturday, February 8, 60 minutes before sunrise.

Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is now well above the horizon and is below the body of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars is in some interesting binocular territory as it crosses the milky way and heads towards the triffid and lagoon Nebulae. The inset is the binocular view of Mars and the nebulae on the 13th.

Jupiter is higher above the horizon and Saturn appears below it.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Evening sky looking north-east at 21:52 ACDST on Saturday, February 8 (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star below the "saucepan" of Orion. Red Aldebaran is almost the same height above the horizon as red Betelgeuse, making brightness comparisons easy.

Betelgeuse is a red giant star which forms a distinctive part of the Constellation of Orion. It is a variable star, with small fluctuations in brightness not visible to the casual observer.

Betelgeuse has dimmed substantially and is now reportedly around magnitude 1.6, it is visibly dimmer than magnitude 1 Aldebaran and roughly as bright as Bellatrix. The next brightest star just to the north of Betelgeuse. Keep an eye on this historic dimming event, observing hints and stars for magnitude estimation are given here. The waxing and full moon will  interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuse' brightness during the week.

Venus is prominent above the western horizon in the early evening sky. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Three bright planets are visible in the morning sky.

 Mars is visible high in the morning twilight. It is below the scorpion, Scorpius, this week. Mars is in some interesting binocular territory as it crosses the milky way and heads towards the triffid and lagoon Nebulae.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning twilight.


Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.




Star Map via Virtual sky. Use your mouse to scroll around and press 8 when your pointer is in the map to set to current time.

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/

Labels:


Friday, January 31, 2020

 

Southern Skywatch February 2020 edition is now out!

The morning sky facing east in Adelaide on Thursday February 20 at 5:56 ACDST, 60 minutes before sunrise, Jupiter is incredibly close to the crescent Moon. The inset is the telescope view of the pair at this time. (similar views will be seen Australia wide 60 minutes before sunrise).   (click to embiggen).











The February edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

Mercury is low in the evening sky this month and is essentially unobservable.

Venus is high in the evening sky and  is visited by the crescent Moon on the 27th.

 Mars climbs higher in the morning sky and is visited by the crescent Moon on the 19st. Mars passes between the Lagoon and Triffid nebulae on the 18th, and is close to the globular cluster M22 on the 29th.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky from mid-month and is spectacularly close to the crescent Moon on the 21st

Saturn   climbs higher in the morning sky and is visited by the crescent Moon on the 21st

February 11, Moon at perigee (two days after Full Moon). February 18, Mars passes between the Lagoon and Triffid nebulae. February 19; Mars and crescent Moon close. February 20, Jupiter and the thin crescent Moon close in the morning twilight. February 21, Saturn and the thin crescent Moon close low in the morning twilight. February 26; Moon at Apogee. February 27; crescent Moon and Venus close. February 29; Mars and the globular cluster M22 close.

February 11, Moon at perigee, February 26; Moon at Apogee.

Labels:


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?