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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 5 to Thursday March 12

The Full  Moon is Friday March 6. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the late evening sky. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is visited by the waning Moon on March 12. Mercury is prominent in the morning sky .

The Full  Moon is Friday March 6.  The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth) on March 5.

Evening sky on Saturday March 7 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:30 (8:30 pm) ACDST in South Australia.  Mars is low in the twilight, with Venus above it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see low above the western horizon in the twilight. At civil twilight, half an hour after sunset, it is around one and a half hand-spans above the horizon. Venus is also just above Mars. As the week goes on the pair separate.

Mars  is low in the western twilight sky and is effectively lost to view.

Evening sky on Saturday March 7 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at 22:00 on the 21st. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is now easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon when twilight ends. It is not far from the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion). It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, but you will have to wait until the end of the week when the Moon is out of the way to see them at their best.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for may weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible all night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation from around 10 pm, although its visibility will improve in the coming weeks. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

On the 9th Io and it's shadow cross the face of Jupiter around 10:00 pm ACDST.


Morning sky on Thursday March 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 1:00 am ACDST .  Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon and close to the waning Moon. (click to embiggen).

Saturn climbs still higher in the morning sky. It is now easily visible well before twilight near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

Saturn is now rising a little before midnight, but it will be later in the month before we get a good look at it in the evening.

Mercury is at its highest in the morning twilight and should be reasonably easy to see over a hand-span above the horizon an hour before sunrise. It is currently in the constellation of Capricornius.
 
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition. 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 AEDST. 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, March 02, 2015

 

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy Occasional Views January to February

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy imaged on 17 January 2015. MEDIAN stack of 3x180 second luminance images BIN2, taken with iTelescope T14. North is left, East is bottom. Image inverted for easier tail viewing. Click to embiggen.Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy imaged on 18 January 2015. MEDIAN stack of 5x180 second luminance images BIN2, taken with iTelescope T14.
Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy imaged on 23 January 2015. MEDIAN stack of 5x180 second luminance images BIN2, taken with iTelescope T14.Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy imaged on 12 February 2015. MEDIAN stack of 3x180 second luminance images BIN2, taken with iTelescope T14.

I have been a bit distracted over the past month or so with EldestOne going off to Melbourne for University, getting the new years Southern Skywatch set-up, getting ready for semester start and organising a satellite neuroscience meeting for later this year. So I haven't been posting my comet Lovejoy images.

Not that I have many, I have been having terrible bad luck with the weather. Anyway this is my compilation of images I have taken since mid-January with iTelescope T14. While the comet is fading, the tail is still magnificent, showing enormous variation.

You can see my previous C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy images here.

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Sunday, March 01, 2015

 

Southern Skywatch March, 2015 edition is now out!

Western horizon as seen from Adelaide on 23 March at 8:00 pm ACDST . Click to embiggen.

The March edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

This month a bit of  planetary action  and Jupiter is still prominent.

Jupiter rises higher in the early evening sky and although opposition has massed, it is still an excellent object this month.

Mars is becoming harder to see in the western evening twilight.  Mars is close to the crescent Moon on the 22nd.


Venus is readily visible in the evening sky. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 23rd.

Saturn is now high in the morning sky. It is in the head of the constellation of Scorpius, the Scorpion. It is close to the waning Moon on the 12th and 13th.

Mercury is hight the morning sky. It is close to the crescent Moon on the 19th.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

 

Geomagnetic alert for February 28- March 1

A geomagnetic alert a has been issued  by the Australian IPS, the activity is due to a high speed solar wind stream form a coronal hole. The activity is likely to peak late in the evening of the 28th to the early morning of the 1 March, possibly lasting to the night of the March 1. If aurora occur, this may be visible in Tasmania, New Zealand, and possibly Southern Vic, WA and Southern South Australia. However, geomagnetic storms are fickle, and the storm may arrive in daylight or may fizzle out entirely .. or might just be spectacular.

However, the waxing Moon may make it difficult to see displays in the early evening.

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 too.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be of help in monitoring for aurora,
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2> http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2
SUBJ: IPS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 15/02
ISSUED AT 26/2330Z FEBRUARY 2015
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL MASS EJECTION
FROM 27 FEBRUARY 2015 TO 01 MARCH 2015
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
27 Feb:  Quiet
28 Feb:  Quiet to Active, some minor storm periods possible.
01 Mar:  Unsettled to Active, minor storm possible.

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 26 to Thursday March 5

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday February 26. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the late evening sky and is visited by the waxing Moon on the 3rd. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion. Mercury is prominent in the morning sky .

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday February 26. The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth) on March 5.

Evening sky on Saturday February 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:30 (8:30 pm) ACDST in South Australia.  Mars is low in the twilight, with Venus above it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see low above the western horizon in the twilight. At civil twilight, half an hour after sunset, it is around one and a half hand-spans above the horizon. Venus is also just above Mars. As the week goes on the pair separate.

Mars  is low in the western twilight sky. Mars is becoming harder and harder to see as it lowers deeper into the twilight, and you may need binoculars to pick it up. By the end of the week it is lost to view.

Evening sky on Saturday February 21 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at 22:00 on the 21st. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is now easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon when twilight ends. It is not far from the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion).

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for may weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible all night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation from around 10 pm, although its visibility will improve in the coming weeks. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Jupiter is close to the waxing Moon on March 3.

Morning sky on Sunday March 1 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACDST .   Mercury is reasonably high above the horizon. (click to embiggen).

Saturn climbs still higher in the morning sky. It is now easily visible well before twilight near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

Mercury climbs higher in the morning twilight and should be reasonably easy to see over a hand-span above the horizon an hour before sunrise. It is currently in the constellation of Capricornius.
 
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition. 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 AEDST. 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, February 18, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 19 to Thursday February 26

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday February 26. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky and is close to Mars between the 20th to the 24th. Jupiter is the brightest object in the late evening sky. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion. Mercury is prominent in the morning sky .

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday February 26.

Evening sky on Saturday February 21 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:30 (8:30 pm) ACDST in South Australia.  Mars is low in the twilight, with Venus below it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see low above the western horizon in the twilight. At civil twilight, half an hour after sunset, it is around one and a half hand-spans above the horizon. Venus is also just below Mars. Between the 20th and 24th the pair are less than a finger-width apart

Mars  is still seen low in the western evening sky, setting just before 9:30 pm daylight saving time (just before twilight ends). Mars is becoming harder and harder to see as it lowers deeper into the twilight, and you may need binoculars to pick it up.

As the week goes on Mars and Venus approach each other, the pair will be closest on the 22nd when they are half a finger-width apart.

Evening sky on Saturday February 21 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at 22:00 on the 21st. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is now easily seen  in the late evening sky. It is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon when twilight ends. It is not far from the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion).

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on the 7th, but it will be an excellent object for may weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible all night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation from around 10 pm, although its visibility will improve in the coming weeks. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes. On the 21st Io and its shadow transits the face of Jupiter from around the end of twilight for about an hour.

Morning sky on Sunday February 22 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am ACDST .   Mercury is below the asterism of the teapot. (click to embiggen).

Saturn climbs still higher in the morning sky. It is now easily visible before twilight near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

Mercury climbs hight in the morning twilight and should be reasonably easy to see a hand-span above the horizon an hour before sunrise under the Teapot of Sagittarius.
 
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition. 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 AEDST. 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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Thursday, February 12, 2015

 

Southern Skywatch February, 2015 edition is now out at its New Home!

Western horizon as seen from Adelaide on 21 February at 9:00 pm ACDST . Click to embiggen.

The February edition of Southern Skywatch is now up at its new home. 

Err, so what happened to the January edition? Bushfires, heatwaves, family stuff and comets kept me from finishing.

This month a bit of  planetary action  with the opposition of Jupiter.

Jupiter rises higher in the evening sky and is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest, this month.


Mars is becoming harder to see in the western evening twilight.  Mars comes closer to Venus and the pair are close to the crescent Moon on the 21st.

Saturn is now high in the morning sky. It is in the head of the constellation of Scorpius, the Scorpion. It is close to the waning Moon on the 13th.

Venus is readily visible in the evening sky. Over the Month it comes closer to Mars

Mercury returns to the morning sky. This is the best time to see Mercury in the morning sky. It is close to the crescent Moon on the 17th.

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