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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 14 to Thursday January 21

The New Moon is Friday January 15. Jupiter is the brightest object low in the western evening sky and is close to the crescent Moon on the Monday January 18. In the morning, Mars and Saturn are easily seen above the north-eastern horizon near the bight stars Regulus and Spica. Mercury returns to the morning sky and is close to the Moon January 14.

Morning sky looking South-east showing the thin crescent Moon and Mercury at 5:00 am local daylight saving time (4:00 am non-daylight saving) on Thursday January 14. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Friday January 15.

In the morning, Mars is readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars is in the constellation of Cancer this week. Mars is a distinct nearly full disk in a small telescope, and becomes bigger and brighter during the week in the lead up to opposition on January 30th. In the evening Mars can be seen rising just as Jupiter is setting (around 10:15 local daylight saving time)

Saturn is visible in the morning sky between the bright stars Regulus and Spica.

The asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars not far from Regulus and will become visible to the unaided eye in February.

Mercury returns to the morning twilight, and is close to the thin crescent Moon on the morning of January 14 (although you will need a clear level horizon to see this).

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

South-Western horizon showing Jupiter and the Moon at 21:00 pm local daylight saving time (20:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday January 18, click to embiggen.

Jupiter is the brightest object low in the western early evening sky. Jupiter's proximity to the horizon makes telescopic observation very difficult, and will get progressively more difficult this week with only an hour between twilight and when Jupiter sets. Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope. Jupiter is close to the crescent Moon on the 18th.

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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