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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday September 3 to Thursday September 7

The Full Moon is Saturday September 5. Mercury is visible in the evening twilight, while Saturn is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is visible the whole night and is easily seen as the brightest object in the sky. In the morning, Venus and Mars are seen above the eastern horizon before dawn.

Evening sky looking west at 7:00 pm local time on Thursday September 3. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Saturday September 5.

Mercury starts off easily visible in the western evening twilight below the bright star Spica (see diagram left). Mercury rapidly lowers towards the horizon, becoming much harder to see.

Saturn is just visible in the early evening twilight just above above the north-western horizon. During the week it vanishes into the twilight glow.

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 September 10 Jupiter has an interesting alignment of Moons.

Eastern horizon with Mars and Venus at 5:30 am local time on Thursday morning September 3, click to embiggen.

In the morning, Venus and Mars are readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars is below the the constellation of Orion and forms a elongated triangle with two bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelguese in Orion. On Thursday September 3 Mars is very near µ Geminorum.

Bright white Venus is close to the horizon, but is still readily visible in the dawn twilight. On Thursday September 3 Venus is near 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. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon.

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.

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