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Thursday, July 29, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday July 29 to Thursday August 5

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday August 3. Four of the 5 classic planets are visible together in the early evening sky. Venus is close to Mars and Saturn. Mars and Saturn are side by side. Mercury is prominent below these planets. Jupiter is now in the evening sky.

Evening sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11:00 pm on Friday July 30 showing the Moon and Jupiter. Similar views will be seen elswhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday August 3.

Jupiter rises before midnight, and can be readily see from about 11 pm local time, on Friday July 30 the waing Moon is close to Jupiter.

Jupiter is still clearly visible in the north-western sky as the brightest object in the early morning. Jupiter is now high enough in the morning sky 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.

Evening sky looking North-west showing Mercury,Venus, Mars, Saturn and Regulus at 7:00 pm local time on Saturday July 31. Click to embiggen.

Four of the five classic planets can be seen together in the early evening sky making fantastic patterns.

Mercury can be seen above the western horizon from half an hour after sunset at the beginning of the week. It is now quite easy to see, just above the bright star Regulus and below the massing of Venus, Mars and Saturn.

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 is in Leo the lion, not far from Mars and Saturn. During the week Venus comes closer to Mars and Saturn. On Saturday July 31 Venus, mars and Saturn form an attractive triangle.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky. Mars is above Venus, close to Saturn at the beginning of the week. Mars and Saturn are side by side on Saturday 31 . Mars is now only slightly brighter than Regulus, but is distinguishable by its reddish colouring.

Saturn is easily visible in the western evening sky as the bright yellow object close to red Mars. Telescopic observation of the ringed world is now difficult as Saturn sets earlier.

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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