Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Sky This Week - Thursday August 27 to Thursday September 3
Evening sky looking west at 6:30 pm local time on Friday August 28. Click to embiggen.
The First Quarter Moon is Thursday August 27.
Mercury is easily visible in the western evening twilight. Mercury rises rapidly in the sky, heading for the bright star Spica (see diagram left).
Saturn is visible in the early evening twilight just above above the north-western horizon. During the week it becomes more difficult to see as it lowers into the twilight. Saturn sets before 7:00 pm local time, making telescopic viewing of Saturn extraordinarily difficult.
Jupiter is visible the whole night and is easily seen as the brightest object in the sky. While Jupiter is past opposition, where it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, it is still more than big enough to be appreciated in even the smallest telescope. If you don't have a telescope to view Jupiter, why not go to one of your local Astronomical Societies or Planetariums open nights? Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope. On Thursday August 30 Jupiter has an interesting alignment of Moons.
Mars, Venus, Aldebaran and Hyades at 6:00 am local time on Friday morning August 28, click to embiggen.
In the morning, Venus and Mars are readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars (which will not be as big as the full Moon this week) is below the the constellation of Orion and forms a elongated triangle with two bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelguese in Orion. Between August 28-30 Mars is close to the open cluster M35. This meeting is best viewed with binoculars.
Bright white Venus is close to the horizon, but is still readily visible in the dawn twilight. On Wednesday September 2 Venus is close to the Beehive cluster in Cancer. This will be difficult to observe, being close to the horizon, but with good binoculars this should be a splendid sight.
Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm, Western sky at 10 pm. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Labels: weekly sky