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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday December 30 to Thursday January 6

The New Moon is Tuesday January 4. Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. Venus is visible not far from the bright star Antares in the morning sky. Mercury enters the morning sky. The crescent Moon visits Venus on Saturday January 1, then Mercury on January 3.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am daylight saving time on Saturday January 1 showing Saturn, Venus, Mercury the crescent Moon and the bright stars Spica and Antares. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Tuesday January 4.

Bright white Venus continues to rise above the eastern morning horizon and is now readily seen in the early morning sky. Venus, Saturn and Mercury form a line in the early morning sky.

Venus is close to the crescent Moon on New Years Day, January 1. Venus's crescent shape is easily seen in small telescopes. Venus will progressively decrease in size and wax towards "First quarter" over the coming weeks.

Saturn, is high enough for telescopic observation. You might be able too see the big storm on Saturn if your telescope is big enough.

Mercury returns to the morning sky, low on the eastern horizon. On January 3 the thin crescent Moon and Mercury are close together. You will need a clear level eastern horizon to see them.

Evening sky looking west showing Jupiter and Uranus at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time on Saturday December 25. Click to embiggen.

Mars are is lost to sight in the glare of the Sun.

Jupiter can be readily seen from twilight until it sets in the early morning. Jupiter now spends most of the evening above the north-western horizon.

Jupiter is excellent in binoculars and small telescopes.

Jupiter and Uranus are at their closest this week (and will not be this close again until 2024) and are readily seen together in binoculars. Uranus is the second brightest object north of Jupiter and the star 20 Piscium. Uranus in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions. A binocular spotters map is here.

Jupiter's Moons are always interesting, in binoculars or telescopes of any size. There are lots of opportunities to see cool Jupiter Moon events (scroll down until you hit Jupiter).

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 ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. 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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