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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 26 to Thursday December 3

The Full Moon is Wednesday December 2. Jupiter is is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. Mercury returns to the evening sky low in the twilight. In the morning, Mars is easily seen above the north-eastern horizon. Saturn is close to the dawn horizon. The Moon covers the Pleiades Tuesday December 1.

Morning sky looking north-east showing Mars and Saturn at 4:00 am local daylight saving time (3:00 am non-daylight saving) on Thursday November 26. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Wednesday December 2.

In the morning, Mars is readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars moves from in the constellation of Cancer into the constellation of Leo. Mars is a distinct gibbous disk in a small telescope, and becomes bigger and brighter during the week.

Saturn is low in the morning sky this week, but is now readily visible before twilight sets in.

Bright white Venus is invisible the twilight glow and will not reappear until February.

South-Western horizon showing Mercury at 20:40 pm local daylight saving time (19:40 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday November 26, click to embiggen.

Mercury returns to the evening sky, it can be seen above the south-western horizon half an hour or so after sunset, below the "hook" of stars that is the tail of Scorpius the scorpion.

Jupiter is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. Jupiter is 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.

North-eastern horizon as seen from southern Australia around 10:00 pm local daylight saving time. Northern Australia will see similar views at around 9:00 pm local standard time. The Moon is poised to cover some of the stars in the Pleiades cluster.

On the evening of Tuesday December 1 the nearly full Moon will pass in front of the beautiful Pleiades star cluster. Because the Moon is so bright, it will be best to watch this event with binoculars or a small telescope. The Northern Territory has the best view. Darwin sees the most bright stars covered, starting with the bright star Celeano at 21:51 ACST, followed by bright Taygeta, then Sterope and Maia, finishing 23:27. next best is Alice Springs, which sees Taygeta covered at 22:12 ACST, followed by 18 Tauri and Sterope.

WA has good views too. Perth sees Taygeta covered at 21:18 AWDST, followed by Sterope and 22 Tauri. People in Northern WA will see more stars covered. Northern QLD sees a few stars covered, Townsville sees Taygeta and 18 Tauri covered at roughly the same time, 23:54 AEST.

South eastern Australia sees just 18 Tauri covered, starting from 23:28 ACDST (Adelaide), 23:33 AEST (Brisbane) and the morning of December 2 for Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart, from between 00:11 AEDST to 00:26 AEDST.

More details, timings and links at Southern Skywatch

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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