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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

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

The Full Moon is Tuesday, September 25.  4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is at its greats brightness on the 21st.  Venus and Jupiter are at their closest on the 22nd.  Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies. The Moon is close to Mars on the 20th. Comet 21P may be seen in binoculars in the morning

The Full Moon is Tuesday, September 25.   The Earth is at Equinox, when day and night are of equal length, on the 23rd.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday September 22 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:36 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and is at its closest to Jupiter. Jupiter is now high in the western sky as well.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Saturday September 22 and Jupiter on Friday September 21, At this time Io and its shadow are transiting Jupiter. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes.

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

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. This week Venus is at its closest to Jupiter on the 22nd, and at its brightest on the 21st.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday September 22 as seen from Adelaide at 19:36 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets are visible in the evening sky.

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



Evening sky on Thursday September 20 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 19:32 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The Moon is close to Mars on the 20th. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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


Location of comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight (4:55 am, 90 minutes before sunrise) looking north-east on Saturday 15 September.

The location of the comet is marked with a red cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise,click to embiggen).

The comet will be visible as a fuzzy dot in binoculars.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is four hand-spans above the horizon.  During the week Venus heads towards Jupiter. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 13th.

Mercury is returns to the evening skies but is hard to see low on the horizon 15 minutes after sunset.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the western horizon. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the early evening and is setting around 11:00 pm local time. This week Jupiter continues to move away from the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and is close to the crescent Moon on the 14th.

 Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page. Mars is close to the Moon on the 20th.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. With the full  Moon in the sky the nebulae are hard to see.

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, September 12, 2018

 

Seeing comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner from Australia in September 2018

Location of comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight (4:55 am, 90 minutes before sunrise) looking north-east on Saturday 15 September.

The location of the comet is marked with a red cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).

21P Giacobini-Zinner is a nice little binocular comet currently putting on a nice display in the Northern Hemisphere. It is currently cruising across the milky way, with a nice backdrop of nebulae and clusters to enhance the view.

Sadly for us in Australia it is currently too low to the horizon to see. However, by the 15th the comet is high enough to see above the horizon. It will have faded from its peak, but will still be easily visible. At this time it is close to the open cluster M35.

Printable Black and white map with the binolcar view of Comet 21P  as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight (4:55 am, 90 minutes before sunrise). The large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Note this is chart is in the same orientation with respect to the spotter chart   above. Click to embiggen and print.
In binoculars the comet looks like a fuzzy dot. The tail is probably only realy visible in telescopes and photographs, and there is a green tint visible on colour images.

The comet is travelling against the backdrop of the milky way, and by the end of the month is within binocular distance of the cone nebula. 
 
0021P         2018 09 10.2745  1.012906  0.710470  172.8514  195.3951   31.9980  20180323   9.0  6.0    21P/Giacobini-Zinner

Ephemeris of Comet 21P  as seen from Adelaide (Pretty much the same for latitudes from Melbourne to Brisbane).
Date        Mag Rise      Ast Twi E Altitude   Transit    Set    Ast Twi B 
12 Sep 2018 7.0 02:24:21 19:28:29 -26° 27' 36" 06:49:42 11:17:40 04:56:23 
13 Sep 2018 7.1 02:17:26 19:29:13 -25° 40' 38" 06:49:41 11:24:29 04:54:56 
14 Sep 2018 7.1 02:10:41 19:29:58 -24° 50' 41" 06:49:31 11:30:52 04:53:29 
15 Sep 2018 7.1 02:04:04 19:30:43 -23° 57' 56" 06:49:13 11:36:49 04:52:02 
16 Sep 2018 7.1 01:57:35 19:31:29 -23° 02' 39" 06:48:47 11:42:23 04:50:34 
17 Sep 2018 7.1 01:51:12 19:32:15 -22° 05' 01" 06:48:13 11:47:35 04:49:05 
18 Sep 2018 7.1 01:44:55 19:33:02 -21° 05' 18" 06:47:32 11:52:27 04:47:36 
19 Sep 2018 7.2 01:38:43 19:33:49 -20° 03' 43" 06:46:44 11:57:00 04:46:06 
20 Sep 2018 7.2 01:32:37 19:34:37 -19° 00' 29" 06:45:49 12:01:15 04:44:36 
21 Sep 2018 7.2 01:26:35 19:35:25 -17° 55' 50" 06:44:49 12:05:14 04:43:06 


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

 

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

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, September 17.  4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky and are visited by the Moon in turn this week. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is moving towards Jupiter.  The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 13th, and Jupiter on the 14th.  Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 17th and Mars is close to the Moon on the 20th. Comet 21P may be seen in binoculars in the morning

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, September 17.   The Moon is at Apogee, when it is furthest Earth, on the 20th.

Evening twilight sky on Thursday September 13 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:29 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and is close to the crescent Moon as it heads towards Jupiter. Jupiter is now high in the western sky as well.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece and Jupiter on Thursday September 13.

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

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus heads towards Jupiter. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 13th.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Friday September 14 as seen from Adelaide at 19:30 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets are visible in the evening sky.

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



Evening sky on Monday September 17 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 19:31 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The Moon is close to Saturn on the 15th. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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


Location of comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight (4:55 am, 90 minutes before sunrise) looking north-east on Saturday 15 September.

The location of the comet is marked with a red cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise,click to embiggen).

The comet will be visible as a fuzzy dot in binoculars.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is four hand-spans above the horizon.  During the week Venus heads towards Jupiter. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 13th.

Mercury is deep in the twilight in the morning skies and very difficult to see.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the western horizon. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the early evening and is setting around 11:00 pm local time. This week Jupiter continues to move away from the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and is close to the crescent Moon on the 14th.

 Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page. Mars is close to the Moon on the 20th.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. With the waxing Moon close to Saturn on the 17th the nebulae are hard to see.

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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Monday, September 10, 2018

 

Catch the ISS passing close to Venus, Jupiter and Mars (11-15 September, 2018)

The ISS passes below Jupiter and above Venus and the crescent Moon as seen from Sydney on the evening of Thursday 13 September at 18:41 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Venus as seen from Adelaide on the  evening of Tuesday 11 September at 19:52 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Jupiter as seen from Perth on the  evening of Tuesday 11 September at 19:56 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot) click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 13 September for Sydney.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Tuesday 11 September for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Saturday Tuesday 11 September for Perth.

Starting tomorrow night there are a series of  very bright ISS passes. Many will pass close to bright planets or shoot between the planets and the Moon. However, there are particularly close passes to Venus on the 11th (Adelaide), 12th (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart), 13th (Sydney) 14th and 17th (Darwin), 15th (Brisbane). On other days there are close passes to Jupiter (11th Hobart, 13th Melbourne, 11th,14th Perth) and Mars (11th Sydney, 12th Perth) .

The following tables are from data provided from Heavens Above.

Passes from Adelaide
Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
10 Sep-3.119:05:5310°SSW19:09:0539°SE19:10:0830°Evisible
11 Sep-2.319:50:3010°WSW19:53:3433°NW19:53:3533°NWvisible
12 Sep-3.618:58:2010°SW19:01:4274°NW19:04:2814°NEvisible
13 Sep-0.819:44:2910°WNW19:45:5312°NW19:47:1610°NNWvisible
14 Sep-1.518:51:1910°WSW18:54:0625°NW18:56:5210°Nvisible












Passes from Brisbane

10 Sep-0.919:39:3210°SW19:40:0814°SW19:40:0814°SWvisible
11 Sep-2.818:47:5310°SSW18:50:5231°SE18:50:5231°SEvisible
12 Sep-1.619:32:2210°WSW19:34:2826°W19:34:2826°Wvisible
13 Sep-3.718:40:0910°SW18:43:3079°NW18:45:3022°NEvisible
14 Sep-0.519:27:3510°WNW19:27:4110°NW19:27:4610°NWvisible
15 Sep-1.418:33:1210°WSW18:35:5322°NW18:38:3310°Nvisible

Passes from Darwin
10 Sep-0.919:39:3210°SW19:40:0814°SW19:40:0814°SWvisible
11 Sep-2.818:47:5310°SSW18:50:5231°SE18:50:5231°SEvisible
12 Sep-1.619:32:2210°WSW19:34:2826°W19:34:2826°Wvisible
13 Sep-3.718:40:0910°SW18:43:3079°NW18:45:3022°NEvisible
14 Sep-0.519:27:3510°WNW19:27:4110°NW19:27:4610°NWvisible
15 Sep-1.418:33:1210°WSW18:35:5322°NW18:38:3310°Nvisible

Passes from Melbourne

10 Sep-3.619:36:1710°SW19:39:3968°NW19:40:0856°Nvisible
11 Sep-3.618:44:2210°SW18:47:4259°SE18:50:5211°ENEvisible
11 Sep-0.820:22:1810°W20:23:3513°WNW20:23:3513°WNWvisible
12 Sep-1.719:29:1710°WSW19:32:0625°NW19:34:2812°Nvisible
13 Sep-2.918:36:5910°WSW18:40:1550°NW18:43:3010°NNEvisible

Passes from Perth

10 Sep-2.719:09:2210°SSW19:12:2028°SE19:12:5127°ESEvisible
11 Sep-2.419:53:4110°WSW19:56:1838°W19:56:1838°Wvisible
12 Sep-3.919:01:3810°SW19:05:0082°SE19:07:1220°NEvisible
13 Sep-0.919:47:1910°W19:49:1514°NW19:50:5911°NNWvisible
14 Sep-1.918:54:2710°WSW18:57:2631°NW19:00:2410°NNEvisible
16 Sep-0.418:48:5110°WNW18:49:4111°NW18:50:3010°NWvisible

Passes from Sydney
10 Sep-2.119:38:0210°SW19:40:0834°WSW19:40:0834°WSWvisible
11 Sep-3.718:46:0610°SW18:49:2662°SE18:50:5230°ENEvisible
12 Sep-1.519:31:1510°W19:33:4620°NW19:34:2819°NWvisible
13 Sep-2.618:38:4610°WSW18:41:5742°NW18:45:0710°NNEvisible
15 Sep-0.818:32:1510°W18:34:1615°NW18:36:1510°NNWvisible


Passes from Hobart
10 Sep-2.019:36:1110°WSW19:39:0327°NW19:40:0822°NNWvisible
11 Sep-2.918:43:5810°WSW18:47:1449°NW18:50:3010°NEvisible
12 Sep-0.819:30:0610°WNW19:31:2212°NW19:32:3810°NNWvisible
13 Sep-1.318:37:0010°W18:39:3821°NW18:42:1510°Nvisible

When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over Venus or missing it completely.
 
As always, start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. Use the most recent prediction for your site.

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[Aurora Alert] Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (10-11 September)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic warning and aurora watch for 10-11 September (UT) due to ongoing solar wind streams from a coronal hole. This anytime during the UT day on the 10th, with activity extending out to the 11th.  The SWS predicts active conditions with the possibility of outbreaks of minor storms on the 11th.  It is not clear if the solar wind will impact during night time hours, abut it would pay to be alert form twilight on the 11th..

If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania weather permitting. The Moon is just past New  and will not 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 (the Full Moon aurora on August 26 was good for those with clear skies despite the Moonlight, as was very active despite initial predictions of not much hapening).

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 18/19
ISSUED AT 0031UT/10 SEPTEMBER 2018
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Geomagnetic activity is expected to increase to Active levels
due to the arrival of CIR and HSS associated with a recurrent
equatorial positive polarity coronal hole. A period of significant
southward Bz component could produce Minor Storm levels.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 10-11 SEPTEMBER 2018
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
10 Sep:  Quiet to Active. An isolated Minor Storm period is also possible.
11 Sep:  Active to Minor Storm

_____________________________________________________________
SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 0047 UT ON 10 Sep 2018 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

Effects of a coronal hole are expected to impact the Earth within the
next 24 hours, possibly resulting in Minor Storm geomagnetic activity
and visible auroras during local nighttime hours at high latitudes
such as Tasmania. Aurora 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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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

 

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

The New Moon is Monday, September 10.  4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is moving towards Jupiter. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies. Mars is past opposition but is still bright and big in even small telescopes.

The New Moon is Monday, September 10. The Moon is at Perigee, when it is closest to Earth, on the 8th.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday September 8 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:26 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and is leaving Spica behind as it heads towards Jupiter. Jupiter is now high in the western sky as well.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece and Jupiter on Saturday September 8.

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

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus moves away from the bright star Spica and heads towards Jupiter.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday September 8 as seen from Adelaide at 19:26 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets are visible in the evening sky.

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


Evening sky on Saturday September 8 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 19:26 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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

Binocular view of Saturn on Saturday September 8 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 19:26 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn is in the same binocular field as the Triffid and Lagoon Nebulae.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 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 to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is four hand-spans above the horizon.  During the week Venus moves away from the bright star Spica and heads towards Jupiter.

Mercury is deep in the twilight in the morning skies and very difficult to see.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the western horizon. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the early evening and is setting around 11:00 pm local time. This week Jupiter continues to move away from the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. Now that the Moon has left the evening sky this will be an excellent sight in binoculars.

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, August 28, 2018

 

Southern Skywatch September 2018 edition is now out!

Evening sky on Saturday September 1 looking west  as seen from Adelaide at 19:21 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Venus and the bright star Spica are close with Jupiter above. (The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus and Jupiter at this time, similar views will be seen Australia wide 90 minutes minutes after sunset).

The August edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

This month still has only 4 of the bright planets in the evening sky as  Mercury remains in the morning sky until late in the month. There are planets brighter than magnitude -2 at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month Mars and Jupiter have dropped below magnitude -2, while Venus achieves peak brilliance.  Venus , Jupiter and Mars are prominent in the evening sky and Saturn rises higher in the evening sky. Mars is past Opposition but still very bright.


Mercury is lost in the twilight and returns to the evening sky late in the month.

Venus is closest to the bright star Spica on the 1st, and is at its brighest on the 23rd. 

Jupiter is close to alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) at the beginning of the month,but draws away over the month . Jupiter is close to the Moon on the 14th.

 Mars was at opposition on July the 27th, this is the best opposition since 2003. It is still a very good telescopic target. More details at my Mars opposition site. September 20, Moon and Mars close.

Saturn is within a binocular field of the the Trifid Nebula and Lagoon Nebula this month. September 17 Moon close to Saturn.

September 12-13, crescent Moon near Venus.

September 14; Moon close to Jupiter. September 17 Moon close to Saturn. September 20, Moon and Mars close.

September 8, Moon at Perigee; September 20, Moon at Apogee. 

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The Sky This Week - Thursday August 30 to Thursday September 6

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, September 3.  4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is at its closest to the bright star Spica. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies. Mars is past opposition but is still bright and big in even small telescopes.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, September 3.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday September 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:21 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and is at its closest to Spica. Jupiter is now high in the western sky as well.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece and Jupiter on Wednesday the 5th as Io, Ganymede and Io's shadow pass over Jupiter's face at 21:54 ACST (Jupiter will be quite low by then).

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

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus is at its closest to the bright star Spica .

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday September 1 as seen from Adelaide at 19:21ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets are visible in the evening sky.

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

Evening sky on Saturday September 1 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 19:21 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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

Binocular view of Saturn on Saturday September 1 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 19:21 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn is in the same binocular field as the Triffid and Lagoon Nebulae.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 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 to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is two and a half hand-spans above the horizon.  Venus is at its closest to the bright star Spica on Saturday the 1st of September.

Mercury is deep in the twilight in the morning skies and very difficult to see.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the western horizon. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the early evening and is setting around 11:30 pm local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week, although they will be close to the horizon. This week Jupiter continues to move away from the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. ow that the Mon has eft the evening sky this will be an excellent sight in binoculars.

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, August 22, 2018

 

The ISS pass of Wedensday 22 August (2018)

International Space Station pass near Arcturus tonight, Wednesday 22 August at 19:24 ACST. This was a short pass, with the ISS disappearing into earth's shadow (not in the sequence, the image sequence finished before the ISS actually disappeared). 12 images fro my CANON IXUS, ASA 400 3 seconds exposure, stacked in DeepSky Stacker. click to embiggenAnimation of all 12 frames in stacked in ImageJ. Click to embiggen.

I managed to get the first in the series of bright ISS passes tonight, a lovely one that faded into Earth's shadow nicely. Sadly I will miss the next two, including the close Venus pass, as I am taking Middle One to Occupational Therapy and a Chess Tournament respectively. Enjoy them for me folks.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday August 23 to Thursday August 30

The Full Moon is Sunday, August 26.  4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky coming close to the bright star Spica. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Saturn and  Mars are visible in the evening skies. Mars is visited by the waxing Moon on the 23rd. Mars is just past opposition but is still bright and big in even small telescopes. There is a series of bright International Space Station passes this week.

The Full Moon is Sunday, August 26. 

 The ISS passes below Venus as seen from Adelaide on the  evening of Friday 24 August at 19:18 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.

This week will see the International Space Sation return  to the evening skies, with som e cole passes to the bright planet Venus between the 24th to 26th, as well as close passes to Mars and bright stars. This is very location dependent, so see my ISS pass page for details.






Evening twilight sky on Saturday August 25 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:16 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and coming closer to Spica. Jupiter is now high in the western sky as well.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece and Jupiter on Wednesday the 29th as Ion, Ganymede and their shadows pass over Jupiter's face at 19:16 ACST .


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

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus moves further towards the bright star Spica and is passed by the ISS during the week.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday August 25 as seen from Adelaide at 19:16 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets and the nearly full Moon are visible in the evening sky.




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

Evening sky on Saturday August 25 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 19:16 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible with the waxing Moon below Mars. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 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 to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is two and a half hand-spans above the horizon.  During the week Venus moves closer to the bright star Spica and is passed by the ISS during the week.

Mercury is deep in the twilight in the morning skies and very difficult to see.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the north-western horizon. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the early to mid-evening and is setting just before midnight local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter moving away from the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page. The Moon is close to Mars on the 23rd.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and isa good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. However the increasing Moon light makes seen these nebula more difficult.

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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Catch the ISS passing close to Venus and many others (24-26 August, 2018)

The ISS passes below Venus as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Friday 24 August at 19:49 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Venus as seen from Adelaide on the  evening of Friday 24 August at 19:18 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Venus as seen from Perth on the  evening of Saturday 25 August at 18:29 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot) click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Friday 24 August for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Friday 24 August for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Saturday 25 August for Perth.

Over the next few days there are a series of  very bright ISS pass. Many will pass close to bright planets or shoot between the pointers and the Southern cross. However, there are particularly close passes to Venus on the 24th (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne), 25th (Perth) and 26th (Sydney, Hobart). On other days there are close passes to Mars.

The following tables are from data provided from Heavens Above.

Passes from Adelaide
Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
21 Aug-1.418:42:5110°NE18:43:1410°NE18:43:1410°NEvisible
22 Aug-3.219:24:1810°NW19:26:5347°N19:26:5347°Nvisible
23 Aug-2.718:32:4710°NNW18:35:4128°NE18:37:4316°Evisible
23 Aug-0.820:09:2110°W20:10:2617°WSW20:10:2617°WSWvisible
24 Aug-2.919:16:4910°WNW19:20:0245°SW19:21:0732°Svisible
25 Aug-3.818:24:4010°NW18:28:0085°NE18:31:2110°SEvisible
25 Aug-0.820:03:1110°WSW20:04:2213°SW20:04:2213°SWvisible
26 Aug-1.519:10:0110°W19:12:3720°SSW19:14:4912°SSEvisible
27 Aug-2.318:17:1910°WNW18:20:2535°SW18:23:3310°SSEvisible
28 Aug-0.919:04:0910°SW19:05:1911°SSW19:06:2910°Svisible












Passes from Brisbane
22 Aug-3.618:18:5310°NNW18:22:0653°NE18:24:1120°ESEvisible
23 Aug-1.519:04:0410°W19:06:4021°SW19:07:4518°SSWvisible
24 Aug-2.718:11:2510°WNW18:14:3642°SW18:17:4810°SSEvisible
26 Aug-1.118:05:0110°W18:07:1216°SW18:09:2410°Svisible


Passes from Darwin
22 Aug-2.606:05:2023°W06:06:0825°NW06:08:5410°Nvisible
22 Aug-1.319:19:1910°W19:21:5020°SW19:24:2410°Svisible
23 Aug-1.505:16:2519°NNE05:16:2519°NNE05:17:3010°NNEvisible

Passes from Melbourne
22 Aug-1.419:55:4710°NW19:56:5319°NW19:56:5319°NWvisible
23 Aug-3.219:04:0310°NNW19:07:1139°NE19:07:4236°ENEvisible
24 Aug-2.118:12:5010°N18:15:1920°NE18:17:5010°Evisible
24 Aug-2.319:48:2710°WNW19:51:0636°WSW19:51:0636°WSWvisible
25 Aug-3.718:56:1310°NW18:59:3276°SW19:01:4021°SEvisible
26 Aug-1.619:41:3810°WSW19:44:1520°SSW19:44:4820°SSWvisible
27 Aug-2.218:48:5810°W18:52:0132°SSW18:55:0510°SSEvisible
28 Aug-1.119:35:1910°SW19:36:5713°SSW19:38:0411°Svisible
29 Aug-1.318:42:1310°WSW18:44:3618°SSW18:46:5910°SSEvisible
31 Aug-1.018:36:0110°SW18:37:1612°SSW18:38:3210°Svisible

Passes from Perth

21 Aug-1.918:43:3210°NNE18:45:3215°NE18:45:5815°ENEvisible
21 Aug-0.320:18:4010°WNW20:18:4210°WNW20:18:4210°WNWvisible
22 Aug-3.719:26:2610°NW19:29:3776°WSW19:29:3776°WSWvisible
23 Aug-3.318:34:3710°NNW18:37:4844°NE18:40:2614°ESEvisible
23 Aug-0.620:12:1910°WSW20:13:0813°WSW20:13:0813°WSWvisible
24 Aug-1.919:19:2210°W19:22:1627°SW19:23:4919°Svisible
25 Aug-3.218:26:5510°WNW18:30:1156°SW18:33:3010°SEvisible
26 Aug-1.019:13:1610°WSW19:14:5713°SSW19:16:3710°Svisible
27 Aug-1.518:20:0010°W18:22:4122°SW18:25:2310°SSEvisible

Passes from Sydney
22 Aug-2.318:20:3610°N18:23:1021°NE18:24:1118°ENEvisible
22 Aug-0.419:56:3310°W19:56:5412°W19:56:5412°Wvisible
23 Aug-3.419:04:1210°WNW19:07:2959°SW19:07:4556°SSWvisible
24 Aug-3.718:12:1410°NW18:15:3162°NE18:18:2813°SEvisible
24 Aug-0.619:50:2010°WSW19:51:1113°SW19:51:1113°SWvisible
25 Aug-1.718:57:1910°W19:00:0624°SW19:01:4617°Svisible
26 Aug-2.718:04:4610°WNW18:07:5844°SW18:11:1310°SEvisible
27 Aug-0.918:51:2110°SW18:52:5012°SSW18:54:1910°Svisible
28 Aug-1.417:58:0310°W18:00:3419°SSW18:03:0610°SSEvisible

Passes from Hobart

23 Aug-2.219:05:3910°NNW19:07:4223°NNE19:07:4223°NNEvisible
24 Aug-1.718:14:4610°NNE18:16:4014°NE18:18:2411°Evisible
24 Aug-1.819:49:2610°WNW19:51:0727°WNW19:51:0727°WNWvisible
25 Aug-3.718:57:2810°NW19:00:4661°NE19:01:4041°Evisible
26 Aug-2.818:05:4710°NNW18:08:4932°NE18:11:5310°ESEvisible
26 Aug-2.319:42:0610°W19:44:4936°SW19:44:4936°SWvisible
27 Aug-3.418:49:4910°WNW18:53:0961°SSW18:55:0922°SEvisible
27 Aug-0.320:27:3010°WSW20:27:5012°WSW20:27:5012°WSWvisible
28 Aug-2.019:34:5910°WSW19:37:5225°SSW19:38:0425°Svisible
29 Aug-2.418:42:3010°W18:45:3734°SSW18:48:1413°SEvisible
29 Aug-0.520:20:2210°SW20:20:5412°SW20:20:5412°SWvisible
30 Aug-1.719:27:5410°WSW19:30:2820°S19:31:0019°Svisible
31 Aug-1.818:35:2110°WSW18:38:0823°SSW18:40:5610°SEvisible
31 Aug-0.820:12:5810°SW20:13:4314°SSW20:13:4314°SSWvisible

When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over Venus or missing it completely.
 
As always, start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. Use the most recent prediction for your site.

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