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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday August 26 to Thursday September 2

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday September 2. Mars Venus and Saturn form an elongated triangle. Venus closes in on the bright star Spica. Mercury is lost from view. Comet Encke may be visible in binoculars. Jupiter can be seen in the east in the late evening.

Evening sky looking East as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm on Friday August 27 showing Jupiter close to the Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday September 2.

Jupiter rises before midnight, and can be readily seen from about 9 pm local time just above the eastern horizon. By the end of the week you can see Jupiter rising in the east while Venus is setting in the west. On the 26th and 27th Jupiter is close to the Moon. You may be able to use the Moon to guide you to see Jupiter in the daylight, but Jupiter and the Moon set soon after Sunrise.

Jupiter is still visible in the north-western sky as the brightest object low in the early morning. Jupiter and Uranus are close together and can be seen near each other in a pair of binoculars. Uranus is the brightest object within a binocular field north of Jupiter.

Evening sky looking North-west showing Venus, Mars, Saturn and Comet Encke at 6:30 pm local time on Tuesday August 31. Click to embiggen.

Mercury can be seen above the western horizon from half an hour after sunset. By the end of the week, it is lost in the twilight.

Comet 2P Encke may be visible in binoculars at the beginning of the week, but is rapidly lost to view. Those with telescopes may see Encke near the Sombreo galaxy on the 30th.

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 now in Virgo the Virgin, close to Mars with Saturn below forming a long, narrow triangle. Venus closes in on the bright star Spica, alpha Virginis and is closest on the 31st. During the week Mars also comes closer to Spica.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky. Mars is below Venus, at the beginning of the week. Mars is distinguishable by its reddish colouring.

Saturn is visible low in the western evening sky as the bright yellow object below Venus and Mars. During the week Saturn draws further apart from the pair. 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.


I live in Moreno Valley, CA, USA. In the early morning I see a planet/star to the lower left of the moon. Is that Jupiter?
Yes, that is Jupiter. Beautiful wasn't it.
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