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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday April 15 to Thursday April 22

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday April 21. Venus appears low in the twilight and is near the crescent Moon on Saturday April 17. The Moon covers the beautiful Pleiades cluster at this time. Mars is close to the Beehive Cluster. Saturn is seen in the evening above the north-eastern horizon near the bight stars Regulus and Spica. Jupiter is easily seen in the morning sky.

The evening sky facing west in Australia on April 17 at 6:25 pm local time showing Venus and the crescent Moon. The Moon occults some of the Pleiades cluster at this time.

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday April 21.

Saturn is rising around before Sunset and is easily visible in the evening sky as the bright yellow object between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Now is still a very good time for telescopic observation of the ringed world. On the 15th, Saturns' Moon Titan cruises just under the planets south pole.

However, it is best to wait until around 11 pm, when Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views. Saturn's' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Bright white Venus continues to rise above from the twilight glow. People with flat, level horizons can see Venus above the western horizon half an hour after Sunset. On Saturday 17th April, the crescent Moon is close to Venus and for many folks there is an occultation of the Pleiades, (see the link for local times of the occultation). Even if you miss the occultation, you will still see the crescent Moon close to the pretty cluster, although you may need binoculars to see the faint cluser close to the horizon (and again, you will need a flat, level horizon to see the event).

Jupiter is now relatively easy to see in the morning sky as the brightest object above the eastern horizon.

Evening sky looking North showing Mars, the Beehive Cluster and the Moon at 9:30 pm local time on Thursday April 22. Click to embiggen.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky as the brightest (and clearly red) object in that part of the sky. Red Mars is in the constellation of Cancer, near the Beehive Cluster (Praesaepe).

Mars comes within a finger width of the beautiful Beehive Cluster between 15 and 18 April. While Mars and the Beehive are easily seen under dark country skies, in the suburbs you will need binoculars to to see them. Even in low power binoculars they will look great. Although Mars is closest early this week, it still remains in binocular range for the rest of the week.

Mars near the Beehive cluster, simulated 10x50 binocular view.

Mars forms a line with the bright stars Sirius and Procyon. Mars forms another line with Regulus, Saturn and Spica. Mars is also close to the Moon on Thursday 22 April.

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.


What is the star below and to the right of the crescent moon on April 15? Venus, the moon, and this star are pretty much in a straight line. Thanks in advance.
Umm, do you mean the 17th? on the 15th the Moon isn't visible. Onn the 17th the bright star is beta Tauri, EL Nath.
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