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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 28 to Thursday February 4

The Full Moon is Saturday January 30. This is a "Blue" Moon. Jupiter is the brightest object low in the western twilight sky. Mars is now the brightest object in the late evening sky and is closest to Earth on January 30. In the morning, Mars and Saturn are easily seen above the northern horizon near the bight stars Regulus and Spica. The Moon is close to Saturn February 2. Mercury is low in the morning twilight.

Morning sky looking South-east showing Mercury at 5:30 am local daylight saving time (4:30 am non-daylight saving) on Saturday January 30. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Saturday January 30. This is a "Blue" Moon, the second full Moon of the month, there will be another "Blue" Moon in March and a "Blue" Last Quarter Moon in October.

Saturn is visible in the morning sky between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. On February 2 (morning February 3) the Moon is close to Saturn. Saturn is actually rising before 11 pm daylight saving time, but is still best seen in the morning and worth a look in a telescope.

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

Mercury is low in the morning twilight, and passes close to some of the brighter stars of Sagittarius. On Saturday January 30 Mercury is almost on top of omicron Sagittarii (see image above)

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

North-eastern horizon showing Mars and the Moon at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time (9:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Saturday January 30, click to embiggen.

Jupiter is the brightest object very low in the western twilight sky. Jupiter's proximity to the horizon makes telescopic observation very difficult, and will get progressively more difficult this week with just over an hour between sunset and when Jupiter sets.

In the evening Mars can be seen from around 10:00 pm local daylight saving time low in the north-eastern sky as the brightest (and clearly red) object in the sky. Mars is at opposition this week on January 30, and now is a good time to look at our sister world in a telescope. Mars is a distinct nearly full disk in a small telescope, although somewhat small. Larger telescopes will be needed to distinguish surface features. On January 30 the Full Moon is near Mars. Red Mars is in the constellation of Cancer and from January 31 is within a binocular field of the Beehive cluster.

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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