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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 

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

The New Moon is Sunday July 27. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 25th, and Mercury on the 26th. A brightish comet may be glimpsed under good conditions low in the morning skies.

The New Moon is Sunday July 27. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 28th.


Evening sky on Saturday July 26 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Spica are close together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). The insets show telescopic views of Mars and Saturn at this time,

Jupiter is lost in the twilight.

Mars  is easily seen in the north-western evening sky. It is highest in the sky around 18:00, setting after 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 north-western horizon in the early evening. Mars is in the constellation of Virgo not far from the bright star Spica. Over the week it draws away from Spica heading towards Saturn.

Saturn is high in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the night. Saturn is high enough from around 8 pm for decent telescopic observation and sets around 2:00 am.  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra.


Morning sky on Friday July 25 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. The crescent Moon is close to Venus. Mercury is close to the horizon. 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 morning sky, it is easy to see and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the early morning sky for some time to come.

Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon. On the 25th the crescent Moon is close to Venus.

Mercury is rapidly sinking into the twilight and is now low above the morning horizon. The Moon is close to Mercury on the 26th, but you will need a clear level horizon to be able to see them.

Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques is bright enough (magnitude 6) to potentially be seen in binoculars, but it is low to the horizon, and the rapidly brightening sky this week soon overwhelms it. Look to the left of the bright star Elnath (the tip of the horn of Taurus the Bull) with strong binoculars (at least 10x50's) for a fuzzy dot in the very early twilight.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Venus and Saturn so prominent in the 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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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 17 to Thursday July 21

The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday July 19. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, and is near Mercury.

The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday July 19. Mars is at Quadrature on the 19th.


Evening sky on Saturday July 19 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Spica are close together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). The insets show telescopic views of Mars and Saturn at this time,

Jupiter is lost in the twilight.

Mars  is easily seen in the north-western evening sky. It is highest in the sky around 18:00, setting after 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 north-western horizon in the early evening. Mars is in the constellation of Virgo close to the bright star Spica.

Mars is still worthwhile looking at in a telescope now, although you will need a decent one to see any detail. On the 19th Mars the Earth and the Sun make a 90 degree angle (Eastern Quadrature), and Mars is at its minimum phase, looking distinctly gibbous shaped, Mars is quite small in telescopes now, but the gibbous shape can be clearly seen.

Saturn is high in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the night. Saturn is high enough from around 8 pm for decent telescopic observation and sets around 2:15 am.  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra.


Morning sky on Sunday July 20 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. Mercury is close to Venus. 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 morning sky, it is easy to see and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the early morning sky for some time to come.

Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon.

Mercury was at its highest above the horizon on the 13th now it begins to sink towards the morning horizon. While Mercury is nowhere near as bright as Venus, it is clearly the brightest object below Venus. Mercury and Venus slowly draw art this week.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Venus and Saturn so prominent in the 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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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

 

Southern Skywatch July, 2014 edition is now out!

Morning sky on  July 25 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.   Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

The July edition of Southern Skywatch is now up. Sorry it's late, but this happened. This month is a bit more sedate than previous months, but there is still some nice sky watching to be done.

There's a bit of planetary action this month with Venus, Saturn and Mars meeting the Moon. Mars and Spica close and Venus and Mercury close.

Jupiter is lost in the twilight.

Mars is obvious in the western evening sky.  Mars is near the bright star Spica on the 13th and 14th.

Saturn is high in the evening sky and is close to the Moon on the 8th.

Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 25th, and close to Mercury on the 16th.

Mercury climbs higher in the morning sky,being highest on the 13th. Mercury comes close to Venus at this time, and is closest on the 16th.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday July 10 to Thursday July 17

The Full Moon is Saturday July 12. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Mars is closest to Spica on the 13-14th. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, and is approached by rapidly brightening Mercury during the week. They are closest on the 16th

The Full Moon is Saturday July 12. The Moon is at Perigee, closest to Earth, on the 13th.


Evening sky on Sunday July 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Spica are close together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is lost in the twilight.

Mars  is easily seen in the northern and north-western evening sky. It is highest in the sky around 18:15, setting after 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 north-western horizon in the early evening. Mars is in the constellation of Virgo close to the bright star Spica. Mars is still worthwhile looking at in a telescope now, although you will need a decent one to see any detail.

On the 13th and 14th, Mars is at its closest to Spica, they look an attractive pair in the sky. 

Saturn is high in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the night. Saturn is high enough from around 8 pm for decent telescopic observation and sets around 2:30 am.  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra.

Morning sky on Wednesday July 16 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. Mercury is at its closest with Venus. 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 morning sky, it is easy to see and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the early morning sky for some time to come.

Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon, and the rapidly climbing Mercury.

Mercury rises higher in the morning sky. This week it rises swiftly towards Venus, brightening as it goes. Mercury is at its highest above the horizon on the 13th. While Mercury is nowhere near as bright as Venus, it is clearly the brightest object below Venus. On the 16th Mercury and Venus are at their closest.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Venus and Saturn so prominent in the 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, July 07, 2014

 

Just in Case You Have Been Wondering Where I have Been

My posts have been a little thin on the ground recently, initially because of preparing for exams and an international conference.

The this happened, follow-ups are here, here, here, here and here. It will be a while before I am fully back on deck, but a few more posts may be coming sooner rather than later.

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

 

Tonight's Conjunction As Seen From Mars

Earth as seen from Mars on the the night of the Moon, Mar, Spica conjunction. The Moon is too close to be seen separate from the Earth with the unaided eye. Earth is a morning object from Mars at the moment. Simulated in StellariumLooking back towards the Sun from behind Mars. Simulated in Celestia

Someone was wondering what the Moon Spica and Mars conjunction would look like from Mars. Well, here are some simulated views for you. As Spica is "behind" Mars, we can see it in these views.

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The Moon, Mars and Spica, Sunday 6 June 2014

Chart of tonight's sky at 22:00 ACST as seen from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at the equivalent local time (eg   22:00 AEST) elsewhere.The Moon, Spica (left) Mards (above) and Saturn (far right) as seem from my backyard around 19:00 ACST. The blob down the bottom is an imaging artefact. Taken with my Canon IXUS 400 ASA 2 second exposure.Close up of Moon, Mars and Spica 3X Zoom on the Canon IXUS as before.

If you have clear skies at the moment go out right now, and look up in the north/north-western sky. There you will see Mars, the Last Quarter Moon and the bright star Spica all grouped in a lovely triangle. Go on, go out and have a look.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 3 to Thursday July 10

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday July 5. Jupiter is low in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Mars is close to the Moon on the 6th. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 8th.  Venus is prominent in the morning sky, and is approached by Mercury during the week.

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday July 5. Earth is at aphelion, its furthest from the Sun, on the 4th.


Evening sky on Saturday July 5 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 17:45 pm ACST in South Australia. Jupiter is just above the north-western horizon in the twilight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is low to the horizon during twilight . Jupiter sets around 18:30, and this will be the last week we can see it before it is lost in the twilight.


Mars  is easily seen in the northern and north-western evening sky. It is highest in the sky around 18:40. 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 northern horizon in the early evening. Mars is in the constellation of Virgo  close to the bright star Spica. Mars is still worthwhile looking at in a telescope now, although you will need a decent one to see any detail.

On the 6th, Mars, Spica and the waxing Moon form a nice triangle (see chart below). 

Saturn is rising higher in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible all night long. Saturn is high enough from around 10 pm for decent telescopic observation (see below).  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra, its apex pointing towards the head of the Scorpion.

Saturn is close to the waxing Moon on the 8th.  


Morning sky on Sunday July 6 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus is below the bright star Aldebaran. Mercury is climbing from the horizon towards Venus. 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 morning sky, it is easy to see and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the early morning sky for some time to come.

 Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear  gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. During the week Venus draws away from the "A" shaped Hyades cluster that forms the head of the Bull. Soon Venus is almost directy under Aldebaran.


Mercury has returned to the morning sky. This week it rises swiftly towards Venus, brightening as it goes. While Mercury is nowhere near as bright as Venus, it is the brightest object below Venus, and by the end of the week Mercury is very obvious and almost a hand-span from Venus.


Evening sky on Sunday July 6 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 pm ACST in South Australia. Mars, Spiac and the Moon from a nice triabgle. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time.

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

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Venus and Saturn so prominent in the 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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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 26 to Thursday July 3

The New Moon is Friday June 27.  Jupiter is low in the early evening sky and is visited by the crescent Moon on the 29th. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, coming close to the red star Aldebaran and forming a second "eye" for the constellation of the Bull.

The New Moon is Friday June 27.The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Sun) on July 1st.


Evening sky on Sunday June 29 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 pm ACST in South Australia. Jupiter is above the north-western horizon with the crescent Moon close by. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

At 6:00 pm if you have a level horizon free of obstructions, you can see three bright planets strung out across the sky, Jupiter just above the horizon,  Mars high in the northern sky and Saturn above the eastern horizon. 

Mercury has disappeared into the twilight.

Jupiter is low to the horizon when twilight ends. Jupiter sets around 19:00, telescopic observation is not really worthwhile now.

In the early evening Jupiter is above the north-western horizon between the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini, and the bright red star Betelgeuse. Jupiter is quite easy to see as the brightest object above the western horizon in the early evening. In the early evening the sight of bright Jupiter sinking to the west, and bright Mars (still not as bright as Jupiter though) to the north and Saturn rising in the east is quite beautiful.

Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars.

Mars  is easily seen in the northern and north-western evening sky. It is highest in the sky around 19:00. 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 northern horizon in the early evening. Mars is in the constellation of Virgo near the brightish star Porrima, and is slowly coming closer to the bright star Spica. Mars is still worthwhile looking at in a telescope now, although you will need a decent one to see any detail.

Saturn is rising higher in the evening sky, and was at opposition on the 11th. Saturn is visible all night long. Saturn is high enough from around 10 pm for decent telescopic observation (see below).  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, its apex pointing towards the head of the Scorpion.


Morning sky on Monday June 30 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus is close to  the bright star Aldebaran. 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 morning sky, it is easy to see and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the early morning sky for some time to come.

 Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear  gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. During the week Venus passes close to the "A" shaped Hyades cluster that forms the head of the Bull. By the 30th Venus is close to the bright red star Aldebaran  forming a second "eye" in the head of the Bull.

Evening sky on Saturday June 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 pm ACST in South Australia. The inset shows the telescopic views of Saturn at this time.

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

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Venus and Saturn so prominent in the 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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