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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

 

Thursday August 18 to Thursday August 25

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday, August 19. Four bright classical planets in a line in the morning sky, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.  Mast is close to the Moon on the 19th - 20th. Venus is becoming harder to see in the twilight. Jupiter is now readily visible in the late evening sky below Saturn. Saturn was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, last week, but will be worthwhile viewing for may weeks to come. Mercury is easier to see in the evening twilight. The asteroid Vesta is at opposition and (just) visible to the unaided eye.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday, August 19.   The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 23rd.

 

Morning sky on Saturday, August 20 as seen from Adelaide at 06:19 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). 

The moon is close to Mars and in between the Pleiades and Hyades. Venus is lowering in the twilight


The insets are the telescopic views of Venus and Mars at the same magnification at this time.

 

 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise. click to embiggen).

 

Evening sky on Tuesday August 23 as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 am ACST. 

Saturn forms a shallow triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii.

Vesta is at opposition and is just visible to the unaided eye between Saturn and Fomalhaut.

Jupiter is just above the horizon.


The insets are the telescopic views of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time.

 Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time.  

 

Evening sky on Saturday, August 20 as seen from Adelaide at 18:46 pm ACST (60 minutes after sunset). 


Mercury is rising higher in the twilight and becoming easier to see.




Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset).

 

 
Whole sky on Saturday, August 20, 19:15 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen). The Milky Way stretches across the mid-sky and the centre of the galaxy is prominent. Mercury and Saturn are both visible.

Scorpius is prominent above the northern horizon with the teapot of Sagittarius below. From the Sting of the Scorpion through the teapot there is a wealth of binocular objects to discover.

Between the bright star Canopus and the Southern Cross are another wealth of binocular objects to discover. However the waxing Moon will make these harder to see.

 

  

 Elsewhere in Australia will see a similar view at the equivalent time (90 minutes after sunset). 

 

Mercury is visible above the western horizon higher in the twilight.

Venus is lowering in the morning twilight

Mars is close tothe Moon on the 19th and 20th, near the Pleiades and Hyades. 

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning twilight below Saturn and above Mars. Jupiter becomes more visible in the evening sky low above the horizon.

Saturn climbs away from Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii. Saturn was at opposition, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 15th.

 
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.


 

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


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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

 

Southern Skywatch August 2022 edition is now out!

Evening sky on Monday August 15 as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 am ACST. Saturn is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Saturn also forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii. Jupiter is just above the horizon and is within binocular distance of the waning Moon. 

The insets are the telescopic views of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time. 

 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time. 

The August edition of Southern Skywatch is now up (sorry about the delay, life happened). The planetary action is in the morning and evening skies with four bright planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury in the morning sky. Saturn is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, Jupiter clims higher in the evening sky and Mercury is at its best in the evening this month. The asteroid Vesta also reaches opposition and unaided eye brightness.

August 1-3; Mars and Uranus less than 2 degrees apart (in same binocular field). August 4; Mercury and bright star Regulus close. August 5; First Quarter Moon. August 11; perigee Moon. August 12; Full Moon. August 12; Saturn and Full Moon close. August 15; Saturn at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. August 15; the waning Moon close to Jupiter (1 degree). August 19; Last Quarter Moon. August 20; Mars close to waning moon. August 23; apogee Moon. August 23; Asteroid Vesta at opposition. August 26; the thin crescent Moon is beside Venus low in the twilight. August 27; New Moon. August 29; Mercury close to thin crescent Moon in evening twilight. August 30-31; Mars between Pleiades and the red star Aldebaran.

Mercury  is climbing higher in evening sky, and is at its best this month and until mid-September. It is low in the twilight half an hour after sunset in the first week of the month and get progressively higher. On August 4 it is close the bright star Regulus, It is furthest from the Sun on the 27th when Mercury is visible well after dark has truly fallen On August 29-30 the thin crescent Moon and Mercury are moderately close.

Venus continues to sink towards the horizon and by the end of the month Venus is lost in the twilight glow.

On the 26th Venus and the thin crescent Moon are close.

Mars is becoming brighter as it nears opposition, it is in an area devoid of bright stars so is readily identifiable. On August 22, Mars is 3° from the crescent Moon. The pair easily seen together in binoculars. On the 1 to 3rdst Mars and Uranus easily visible together in binoculars (closes on 1 August). On August 20th , Mars is 5 ° from the waning Moon. The pair just seen together in binoculars. From the 20th on Mars passes between the Pleiades and Hyades, an excellent morning sight, on the 30-31st Mars is directly between the Pleiades and the bright red star Aldebaran.

Jupiter climbs higher in the evening sky and is an good telescopic object in the late evening sky, although still best telescopically in the morning. On the 15th Jupiter is close to the waning Moon, with the pair in the same binocular field and Jupiter only 1° away.

Saturn is climbing higher in the evening sky but remains seen in the morning skies. Saturn is at opposition on the 15th, and is visible the whole night. Saturn will be high enough for good telescopic observation in the evening and early morning. Saturn forms a shallow triangle with delta and gamma Capricorn, becoming more elongated as the month wears on. On the 12th (morning 13th) the Full Moon is close to Saturn.

Moon: August 11; perigee Moon and August 26; apogee Moon

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Monday, August 08, 2022

 

Thursday August 11 to Thursday August 18

The Full Moon is Friday, August 12. Four bright classical planets in a line in the morning sky, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.  Venus is becoming harder to see in the twilight. Jupiter is now readily visible in the late evening sky below Saturn and is close to the Moon on the 15th. Saturn is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 15th and close to the full Moon on the 12th. Mercury is easier to see in the evening twilight.The Perseid meteor shower is on the 12 but will be basically unobservable from Australia.

The Full Moon is Friday, August 12.  The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 11th.

 Morning sky on Saturday, August 13 as seen from Adelaide at 06:19 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is lowering in the twilight


The insets are the telescopic views of Venus and Mars at the same magnification at this time.

 


 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise. click to embiggen).

Evening sky on Monday August 15 as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 am ACST. 

Saturn is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Saturn also forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii.

Jupiter is just above the horizon and is within binocular distance of the waning Moon.


The insets are the telescopic views of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time.

 Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time.  

Evening sky on Saturday, August 13 as seen from Adelaide at 18:36 pm ACST (60 minutes after sunset). 

Mercury is rising higher in the twilight and becoming easier to see.




Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset).

 

 
Whole sky on Saturday, August 13, 19:05 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen). The Milky Way stretches across the mid-sky and the centre of the galaxy is prominent. Mercury and Saturn are both visible.

Scorpius is prominent above the northern horizon with the teapot of Sagittarius below. From the Sting of the Scorpion through the teapot there is a wealth of binocular objects to discover.

Between the bright star Canopus and the Southern Cross are another wealth of binocular objects to discover. However the waxing Moon will make these harder to see.

 

  

 Elsewhere in Australia will see a similar view at the equivalent time (90 minutes after sunset). 

 

Mercury is visible above the western horizon higher in the twilight.

Venus is lowering in the morning twilight

Mars forms a line with Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (and Uranus and Neptune). 

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning twilight below Saturn and above Mars. Jupiter becomes more visible in the evening sky low above the horizon and is visited by the Moon on the 15th/16th.

Saturn climbs away from Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii. Saturn is near the Full Moon on the 12th. Saturn is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 15th.

 
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.


 

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


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Tuesday, August 02, 2022

 

Thursday August 4 to Thursday August 11

The First Quarter Moon is Friday, August 5. Four bright classical planets in a line in the morning sky, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.  Jupiter is now readily visible in the late evening sky below Saturn. Saturn is brightening ahead of opposition next week. Mercury is low in the twilight and is close to the bright star Regulus on the 4th.

The First Quarter Moon is Friday, August 5. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 11th.

 

Morning sky on Saturday, August 6 as seen from Adelaide at 06:09 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mars is within binocular distance of Uranus


The insets are the telescopic views of Venus and Mars at the same magnification at this time.

 


 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise. click to embiggen). 


 
Evening sky on Saturday August 6 as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 am ACST. 

Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii, and Jupiter is just above the horizon.


The insets are the telescopic views of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time.

  

 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time. 

 

Evening sky on Thursday, August 4 as seen from Adelaide at 18:18 pm ACST (45 minutes after sunset). 

Mercury is close to the bright star Regulus, low on the horizon.





Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes after sunset).

 

Whole sky on Saturday, August 6, 19:04 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen). The Milky Way stretches across the mid-sky and the centre of the galaxy is coming into view. 

Scorpius is prominent above the northern horizon with the teapot of Sagittarius below. From the Sting of the Scorpion through the teapot there is a wealth of binocular objects to discover.

Between the bright star Canopus and the Southern Cross are another wealth of binocular objects to discover. However the waxing Moon will make these harder to see.

 

  

 Elsewhere in Australia will see a similar view at the equivalent time (90 minutes after sunset). 

 

Mercury is visible above the western horizon low in the twilight next week. It is close to the bright start Regulus on the 4th..

Venus is lowering in the morning twilight

Mars forms a line with Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (and Uranus and Neptune). 

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning twilight below Saturn and above Mars. Jupiter enters the evening sky low above the horizon.

Saturn climbs away from Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii.

 
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.


 

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

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

 

Southern Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower 29-31 July, 2022

Evening sky looking east from Adelaide at 11 pm local time in South Australia on the 30th. The starburst marks the radiant  (the point where the meteors appear to originate from) of the Southern Delta Aquariids. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). Evening sky looking east from Adelaide at 2:30 am local time on July 31st in South Australia. The starburst marks the radiant  (the point where the meteors appear to originate from) of the Southern Delta Aquariids.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


The Southern Delta-Aquarids meteor shower runs from from 12 July to 23rd August, peaking on Saturday night/ Sunday morning July the 30th-31st. The number of meteors you will see depends on how high the radiant is above the horizon, and how dark your sky is. This shower is fairly faint, with the highest rate of around a meteor every 4 minutes (more detail below).

The ZHR  for Southern Delta Aquariids is 25 meteors per hour. The figure ZHR is zenithal hourly rate. This is the number of meteors that a single observer would see per hour if the shower's "point of origin", or radiant, were at the zenith and the sky were dark enough for 6.5-magnitude stars to be visible to the naked eye.

In practise, you will never see this many meteors as the radiant will be some distance below the zenith. Also, unless you are out deep in the countryside, the darkness will be less than ideal. As well, moonlight will significantly reduce rates. How many are you likely to see in reality? I discuss this further down, lets talk about when to see them first.

At 11 pm, face east, and look around 4 hand spans above the horizon. Jupiter is obvious as the brightest object above the horizon. The next brightest above it is Saturn. The radiant is between Jupiter and Satirn, closer to Saturn. This meteor shower should be visible from 10.00 pm until dawn. The best rates will be at 2:30 am on the evenings/mornings of the 29/30th and 30th/31st.

At 2:30 am people in the suburbs should see a meteor around once every 10 minutes, and in the country about once every 4 minutes at 2:30 am in the mornings of the 30th and 31st.

When looking, be sure to let your eyes adjust for at least 5 minutes so your eyes can be properly adapted to the dark. Don't look directly at the radiant site, because the meteors will often start their "burn" some distance from it, but around a hand-span up or to the side. Be patient, although you should see an average of a meteor every six to four minutes, a whole stretch of time can go by without a meteor, then a whole bunch turn up one after the other.

Make yourself comfortable, choose an observing site that has little to obstruct the eastern horizon, have a comfortable chair to sit in (a banana lounger is best), or blankets and pillows. Rug up against the cold.  A hot Thermos of something to drink and plenty of mosquito protection will complete your observing preparations. As well as meteors, keep an eye out for satellites (see Heavens Above for predictions from your site).

The sky will also be particularly beautiful, with the Milky Way stretching over the sky and constellation of Scorpius, Jupiter and Saturn gracing the eastern-northern sky.


 Use the NASA  meteor shower flux estimator for an estimate of what the shower will be like from your location. Unfortunately, both Chrome and Firefox have changed their security settings to prevent plugins from running, and the flux estimator only runs under Internet Explorer now. 
 
You need to choose 5 Southern Delta Aquariids and remember to set the date to 29-30 July or 30-31 July 2022

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

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Thursday July 28 to Thursday August 4

The New Moon is Friday, July 29. Four bright classical planets in a line in the morning sky, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.  Jupiter enters the evening sky below Saturn. Mercury is close to the thin crescent moon on July 30. The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower reaches its maximum on the late evening of the 30th, and early morning 31st. Mars is within binocular range of Uranus and is closest on August 2.

The New Moon is Friday, July 29. 

 

Morning sky on Saturday, July 30 as seen from Adelaide at 06:14 ACST. Mars is within binocular distance of Uranus, and is closest on August 2.


The insets are the telescopic views of Venus and Mars at the same magnification at this time.

 


 

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


 Evening sky on Saturday July 30 as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 am ACST. 

Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii, and Jupiter is just above the horizon.

The Southern Delta Aqauriid meteor shower peaks on the evening of the 30th, Morning 31st. The radiant is between Saturn and Jupiter. You can start viewing the shower any time after 10 pm local time, but the best rates are when the radiant is highest above the northern horizon: from 11 pm to 3 am.

The insets are the telescopic views of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time.

  

 

Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time. 

 

Evening sky on Saturday, July 30 as seen from Adelaide at 17:59 pm ACST (30 minutes after sunset). 

Mercury and the thin crescent Moon are visible low on the horizon, you may need binoculars to see Mercury.





Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset).

 

Whole sky on Saturday, July 30, 19:00 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen). The Milky Way stretches across the mid-sky and the centre of the galaxy is coming into view. 

Scorpius is prominent above the northern horizon with the teapot of Sagittarius below. From the Sting of the Scorpion through the teapot there is a wealth of binocular objects to discover.

Between the bright star Canopus and the Southern Cross are another wealth of binocular objects to discover. 

 

  

 Elsewhere in Australia will see a similar view at the equivalent time (90 minutes after sunset). 

 

Mercury is visible above the western horizon low in the twilight next week. It is close to the thin crescent Moon on the 30th.

Venus is lowering in the morning twilight

Mars forms a line with Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (and Uranus and Neptune). 

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning twilight below Saturn and above Mars. Jupiter enters the evening sky low above the horizon.

Saturn climbs away from Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii.

 
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.


 

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






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Monday, July 18, 2022

 

Thursday July 21 to Thursday July 28

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday July 21. Four bright classical planets in a line in the morning sky, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus. The waning Moon is very close to Mars on the 22nd. The crescent Moon is between the Hyades and Pleiades on the 24th and the crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 26th/27th. Jupiter enters the evening sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday, July 21. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 26th.

 Morning sky on Friday July 22 as seen from Adelaide at 03:00 ACST. 

The waning Moon is close to Mars (the pair will still be seen together until close to civil twilight, 30 minutes before sunrise, but the distance between the Moon and Mars increases as the morning goes on.

The insets is the binocular view of Mars and the Moon at this time.

 

 

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


 Evening sky on Saturday July 23 as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 am ACST. 

Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii, and Jupiter is just above the horizon.

The insets is the telescopic view of Saturn and Jupiter at the same magnification at this time.

 

  


Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time. 

 

Morning sky on Tuesday July 26 as seen from Adelaide at 6:17 am ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). The crescent Moon is close to Venus.






Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise).

Whole sky on Saturday, July 23, 18:56 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen). The Milky Way stretches across the mid-sky and the centre of the galaxy is coming into view. 

Scorpius is prominent above the northern horizon with the teapot of Sagittarius below. From the Sting of the Scorpion through the teapot there is a wealth of binocular objects to discover.

Between the bright star Canopus and the Southern Cross are another wealth of binocular objects to discover. 

 

  

 Elsewhere in Australia will see a similar view at the equivalent time (90 minutes after sunset). 

 

Mercury is lost in the twilight but will be visible above the western horizon low in the twilight next week. 

Venus is lowering in the morning twilight. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 26th/27th.

Mars forms a line with Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (and Uranus and Neptune). The waning Moon is very close to Mars on the 22nd.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning twilight below Saturn and above Mars. Jupiter enters the evening sky low above the horizon.


Saturn climbs away from Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Saturn forms a triangle with delta and gamma Capricornii.

 
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.


 

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




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Thursday, July 14, 2022

 

Don't forget tonight's Perigee Moon (the best for this year, 14, July 2022)

Full Moon July 14 05:00 AEST. perigee July 13 19:00 (-9h, closest this year)Full Moon December 8 14:00 AEST  Moon at apogee 12th +3d20h


July 14 is the best perigee Full Moon this year. The differences are in Full Moon size are subtle, especially if you compare tonight's Full Moon with the June 15 Full Moon which was also a perigee Full Moon.  

It requires a keen eye and good memory to distinguish a perigee "super" Moon from more ordinary moons, the best contrast is with the apogee "mini" moon of December 8, even though this is not a good apogee Moon). 

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try though. Daniel Fischer has been able to see the difference, you can read his account and viewing tips here
http://earthsky.org/space/can-you-discern-supermoons-large-size-with-the-eye-an-observer-says-yes

Photographing them can be more rewarding. You can see images of perigee Moon and apogee Moon pairs from 21 Jan 2019 here and 10 August 2014 here.Tips for photographing them are here.

A full Moon at perigee has been called a "Super Moon", this is not an astronomical term (the astronomical term is perigee syzygy, but that doesn't trip off the tongue so nicely), but an astrological one first coined in 1979 (see here).

Still, it is a good excuse to get people out and looking at the Moon (although technically the Moon was full at 5 am this morning and biggest as it was closest to perigee which occurred at 7 pm on the 13th, but the sky was covered in cloud then, it will still look good tonight).
 

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