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Tuesday, August 03, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday August 5 to Thursday August 12

The New Moon is Tuesday August 10. Four of the 5 classic planets are visible together in the early evening sky forming interesting patterns. Venus is close to Mars and Saturn with Venus and Saturn coming side by side on the 8th. Mercury is prominent below these planets and is close to the crescent Moon on the 12th. Jupiter is now in the evening sky.

Evening sky looking North-west as seen from Adelaide at 7:00 pm on Sunday August 8 showing Mercury below Saturn, Venus and Mars. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Tuesday August 10.

Jupiter rises before midnight, and can be readily seen from about 11 pm local time just above the eastern horizon.

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 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 Mercury,Venus, Mars, Saturn and the crescent Moon at 7:00 pm local time on Thursday August 12. 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 below the massing of Venus, Mars and Saturn. On the 12th the thin crescent Moon is not far from Mercury.

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 Sunday August 8 Venus and Saturn are at their closest. With Mars above they 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 is distinguishable by its reddish colouring.

Saturn is easily visible in the western evening sky as the bright yellow object close to red Mars. uring the week Saturn and Venus draw closer. On Sunday August 8 Venus and Saturn are at their closest. 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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