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Monday, August 25, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 28 to Thursday September 4

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday September 2. Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky, forming a nice triangle with Alpha Librae. The trio are visited by the Moon on the 31st and September 1. This is the last week to see Venus is low in the morning twilight. Jupiter rises higher.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday September 2.

Evening sky on Sunday August 31 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Saturn are at their closest under the head of  Scorpius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars  is easily seen in the western evening sky, setting just before midnight. Mars was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest, on the 9th of April, and is still  readily distinguishable as the bright red/orange object above the western horizon in the early evening.

Mars is in the constellation of  Libra. It begins the week forming a  triangle with the broad double star Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) and Saturn. Over the week it draws away from Saturn, forming a larger triangle. The trio of Mars, Saturn and Alpha Librae are visited by the Moon on August the 31st and September 1.

Saturn is in the early western evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the evening. Saturn is high enough from twilight for decent telescopic observation for a few hours and sets just before midnight.

Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a shallow triangle with the two brightest stars of Libra. It also forms a  triangle with Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Mars. The trio of Mars, Saturn and Alpha Librae are visited by the Moon on August the 31st and September 1.

Evening sky on Sunday August 31 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 (6:30 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mercury is now reasonably high above the horizon in the twilight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky and is now readily visible low above the western horizon, in the latter twilight. It becomes easier to see during the week.



Morning sky on Sunday August 31 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:15 am ACST.  Venus is low above the horizon, Jupiter is above it (click to embiggen).

Venus is in the morning sky, low above the north-eastern horizon.  Despite its brightness, it is very  difficult to see low in the twilight.

Venus is pulling away from Jupiter, although you will need a clear, level horizon to see Venus in the twilight glow.

This is the last week to see Venus before it disappears into the glare of the Sun.

 Jupiter  rises higher in the morning twilight, and now is fairly easy to see low above the horizon at twilight. During the week Jupiter climbs higher and becomes easier to see.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and  Saturn  prominent in the early evening sky.  If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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.

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Mars, Saturn and Zubenelgenubi close (25-27th August 2014)

Evening sky on Monday August 25 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Saturn are at their closest under the head of  Scorpius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

After slowly drawing together Mars and Saturn are at their closest tonight (the 25th) tomorrow night and Wednsday night (the 27th).

Mars and Saturn form a triangle with Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) at this time. Go out tonight or over the next few days and have a look.

Here is an animation of them drawing together from the 18th to the 223rd.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 21 to Thursday August 28

The New Moon is Tuesday August 26. Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky. The Moon is close to Mercury on the 27th. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky are at their closest this week. Venus is low in the morning twilight while Jupiter rises higher. The Moon is close to Venus and Jupiter on the 23rd and 24th.

The New Moon is Tuesday August 26. The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth), on the 24th.
 
Evening sky on Monday August 25 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Saturn are at their closest under the head of  Scorpius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars  is easily seen in the western evening sky, setting around midnight. Mars was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest, on the 9th of April, and is still  readily distinguishable as the bright red/orange object above the western horizon in the early evening.

Mars is in the constellation of  Libra. It begins the week forming a shallow triangle with the broad double star Alpha Librae and Saturn. Over the week it draws towards Saturn, and is at its closest between the 25th and the 27th. Mars and Saturn form a triangle with Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) at this time.

Saturn is in the early western evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the evening. Saturn is high enough from twilight for decent telescopic observation for a few hours and sets around midnight.

Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a shallow triangle with the two brightest stars of Libra. It also forms a shallow triangle with Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Mars. By the 25th to the 27th. Mars and Saturn will be at their closest.

Evening sky on Wednesday August 27 looking west as seen from Adelaide at18:30 (6:30 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mercury and the thin Crescent Moon are low above the horizon in the twilight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky while it is low above the western horizon, it beomes easier to see during the week.

On August 27 the thin crescent Moon visits Mercury

Morning sky on Sunday August 24 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus is low above the horizon, Jupiter is above it and the thin crescent Moon forms a triangle with them (click to embiggen).

Venus is in the morning sky, above the north-eastern horizon.  Despite its brightness, it is now  difficult to see low in the twilight.

Venus is still close to Jupiter, although you will need a clear, level horizon to see them in the twilight glow.

During the week Venus pulls away from Jupiter as Jupiter rises in the sky and Venus sinks closer to the horizon.

On the 23rd the crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter form a line. Although low in the twilight, if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them (and at least the Moon and Jupiter early on).

On the 24rd the thin crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter form a triangle. The thin Moon will be quite difficult to see low in the twilight, but again if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them. You may need binoculars to see all three in the twilight. Northern Australia has better views than southern Australia.

Jupiter  it rises higher in the morning twilight, but will difficult to see without a clear level horizon. During the week Jupiter pulls away from Venus. On the 23rd and 24th the crescent Moon lines up with Jupiter and Venus (see details above).


There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and  Saturn  prominent in the early evening sky.  If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

 

Mars and Saturn, Sunday 17 August, 2014

Mars, Zubenelgenubi and Saturn almost from a line below the head of the Scorpion on Sunday 17 August (three brightest objects mid left, click to embiggen)t. 10 x 15 second exposures at ASA 400 with a "point and shoot" Canon IXUS, stacked in ImageJ, SUMMED an light contrast editing applied.

While the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter was quite good, Mars and Saturn have been slowly approaching each other. They will be closest on the 25th but not as close as Jupiter and Venus were this morning).

Mars, Zubenelgenubi and Saturn actually form a straight line tonight, but cloud got in the way.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

 

Venus and Jupiter Close together in the Twilight Glow (morning, 18 August 2014)

Morning sky on Monday August 18 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at civil twilight, 6:30 am ACST.  Venus is low above the horizon, Jupiter is so close it may be hard to see it separately. The inset shows the binocular view (click to embiggen)Morning sky on Monday August 18 looking north-east as seen from Brisbane at civil twilight, 5:22 am AEST.  (click to embiggen)Morning sky on Monday August 18 looking north-east as seen from Darwin  at civil twilight, 6:37 am ACST.  (click to embiggen)

This Monday morning (18 August) Venus and Jupiter are less than half a fingerwidth apart and may be difficult to distinguish with the unaided eye. However, this close conjunction is deep in the twilight, and will be difficult to see.

While viewers further north have the best views if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them if you look half an hour before local sunrise.

From Adelaide the pair are a mere three finger-widths above the horizon at civil twilight (half an hour before sunrise), from Brisbane a hand-span above the horizon at civil twilight and from Darwin a hand-span and a half almost (see diagrams above). From Melbourne and Hobart the pair are even closer to the horizon.

The pair are close enough that the will easily fit into the field of view of standard binoculars.  With the advancing dawn, you may need binoculars to even see Jupiter. Be very careful of the rising sun though.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

 

Readers Images of the Occultation of Saturn, August 4 2014

Christine Beswick from Tasmania took this "near miss" image. Hand held standing on the porch 1/40 ISO 320.Chris Wyatt took this image using an eyepiece projection of Moon at 29.8 magnification at ASA 400, 1/200 sec exposure on his 10" dob scope with a Canon 70D
Chris has imaged Saturn with no eyepiece at ASA 3200, 1/100 sec and focal length 3,890 mmChris imaged the Moon Occulting Saturn with  ASA 2,500 , 1/125 sec and focal length 3,890 mm

Readers Rob and Julie Walpole and Chris Wyatt have sent in some great images of the occultation of Saturn on August 4. Rob and Julie sent along their friend Christine Beswick's image of the "near miss" ocultation in Tasmania.Reader Chris Wyatt capture the Moon and Saturn, and the dramatic moment when Saturn just began to pass behind the Moon.

Remeber that copyright invests with them folks, so please ask if you want ot use their pictures.

Sorry to take so long to put these marvellous images up.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 

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

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday August 17. Mercury returns to the evening sky late in the week. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky and come closer together during the week. Venus is low in the twilight and meets Jupiter on the 18th.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday August 17.

Evening sky on Thursday August 21 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Saturn are close together under the head of  Scorpius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time,

Mars  is easily seen in the western evening sky, setting around midnight. Mars was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest, on the 9th of April, and is still  readily distinguishable as the bright red/orange object above the western horizon in the early evening.

Mars is now in the constellation of  Libra forming a line with the broad double star Alpha Librae and Saturn. Over the week it draws towards Saturn and Alpha Librae, and is very close by the 21st. Mars will be at its closest to Saturn next week.

Saturn is in the early north-western evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the evening. Saturn is high enough from twilight for decent telescopic observation and sets shortly after midnight. 

Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a shallow triangle with the two brightest stars of Libra. It also forms a line with Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi ) and Mars. By the 21st Mars and Saturn will be close.


Morning sky on Monday August 18 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus is low above the horizon, Jupiter is so close it may be hard to see it separately.

The inset shows a simulation of the binocular view of these two worlds. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

Venus is in the morning sky, above the north-eastern horizon.  The brightest object in the early morning sky, it is rapidly heading towards horizon, and becomes more difficult to see the twilight.

Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is now rapidly sinking further into the twilight, becoming quite difficult to see.  During the week Venus comes closer to Jupiter, although you will need a clear, level horizon to see them in the twilight glow.


On the 18th Venus and Jupiter are at their closest, and may be difficult to distinguish with the unaided eye. Although low in the twilight, if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them close together in binoculars. Be very careful of the rising sun though.

Jupiter  it rises higher in the morning twilight, but will difficult to see without a clear level horizon. During the week Jupiter comes closer to Venus.

Mercury returns to the evening sky by the end of the week, and can be seen low above the western horizon, it will become more prominent next week..

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and  Saturn  prominent in the early evening sky.  If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

 

Images of the 10 August 2014 "supermoon"


The so-called "supermoon" of tonight  (August 10/11) was very beautiful, but with the unaided eye I couldn't tell it apart from previous Full Moons.

However, it was very obvious in the telescope, even at 8:30 pm the Moon was obviously bigger than January's "mini-Moon" (aphelion Full Moon). The top image shows tonights Moon on the left at 8:30 pm, and the mini-Moon of January on the right. Click on the image to embiggen.

The bottom image shows the Moon at 10:30 pm (still 5anda half hours from maximum approach and largest apparent diameter) on the left, and January's "mini Moon" on the right. The size difference is glaringly obvious.The position of the Maria and craters is slightly different in each image due to libration.

Another way to do this is to glue half of the image from today (top) to half from January (bottom), this makes it slightly clearer. The images are at exactly the same scale. (click to embiggen)

The top images have been processed to increase contrast, but are otherwise untouched.

So, pretty good night. If you got some pictures tonight, but don't have any from January, you have to wait until March 5th in 2015 for a comparable Mini Moon.

January image with Pentax K10, ASA 1600, 1/180th second exposure, 22:30 image same conditions, 2030 image ASA 100 (!!!) and 1/60th of a second. 

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