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Monday, June 07, 2010

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 10 to Thursday June 17

The New Moon is Saturday June 12. On the morning of June 11 Mercury is near the Moon which occults the Pleiades cluster. Venus is readily visible in the twilight. On June 15 the Moon and Venus are close. Saturn is seen in the evening above the northern horizon near the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Mars is very close to Regulus. Jupiter is prominent in the morning sky.

The morning sky facing north-east in Australia on Friday June 15 at 6:30 am local time showing the Moon and Mercury. the Moon is covering some of the beautiful Pleiades Cluster.

The New Moon is Saturday June 12.

Mercury is in the morning sky and is visible low to the horizon below Jupiter. On Friday June 11 the thin crescent Moon is close to Mercury. At this time the Moon also occults the Pleiades Cluster. This will be difficult to see if you don't have a fairly level, clear eastern horizon, Times of prominent star disappearances and appearances for major cities are listed here.

Jupiter is clearly visible in the north-eastern sky as the brightest object in the early morning. Jupiter is now high enough for telescopic observation to be rewarding. Jupiter looks a little different now that one of its bands has disappeared. Jupiter and Uranus are close together and can be seen near each other in a pair of binoculars (spotters map here).

Evening sky looking North-west showing Venus, the Moon, and bright stars at 6:30 pm local time on Tuesday June 11. Click to embiggen.

Bright white Venus is readily visible above the western horizon from half an hour after Sunset, (even before) until past the end of twilight (about an hour and a half after sunset). Venus starts the week close to the bright star Pollux in Gemini, and moves away towards the Beehive cluster during the week. On the 15th the thin crescent Moon is close to Venus. This is a good opportunity to see Venus in daylight. You must be very careful to make sure you don't look directly at the Sun though.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky. It has faded a lot, but is still the brightest (and clearly red) object in that part of the sky. Mars will be just to the right of Regulus, the bright star in Leo the lion at the beginning of the week and will draw away from it during the week. The waxing Moon, Mars and Regulus form a nice triangle on Thursday June 17.

Saturn is rising before Sunset and is easily visible in the evening sky as the bright yellow object between the bright stars Regulus and Spica, just up from Mars. Now is still a very good time for telescopic observation of the ringed world. Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views at around 8 pm. Saturn's' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope. On the 10th of June, Saturns' Moon Titan cruises just above the planets north pole.

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.

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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