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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday September 9 to Thursday September 16

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday September 15. Mars, Venus and Spica form a triangle in the sky. On Saturday September 11 the Crescent Moon joins the trio. On Tuesday September 14 the waxing Moon is near the red star Antares. Jupiter can be seen in the east in the late evening. Jupiter and Uranus are seen close together in binoculars and telescopes.

Evening sky looking East as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm on Wednesday September 15 showing Jupiter close to Uranus. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday September 15. On Tuesday September 14 the waxing Moon is near the red star Antares.

Jupiter rises before midnight, and can be readily seen from about 8 pm local time just above the eastern horizon. At the beginning of the week you can see bright Jupiter rising low in the east while Venus is still in the west. Jupiter will be at opposition next week, when it is at its biggest and brightest, so now is a good time to look at it in a telescope.

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, and is in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions. A binocular spotters map is here. During the week Jupiter and Uranus come closer and by the end of the week they are visible together in low power telescope eyepieces.

Jupiter is still visible in the early morning in the north-western sky as the brightest object low above the horizon.

Evening sky looking North-west showing the Crescent Moon, Venus, Mars, Spica and Saturn at 7:00 pm local time on Saturday September 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 is in Virgo the Virgin, close to Mars and the bright star Spica (alpha Virginis) forming a triangle. Venus rises higher during the week, and is a visible crescent in small telescopes. On Saturday 11 Spetember, the crescent moon joins the trio of Venus, Mars and Spica. Mars is distinguishable by its reddish colouring just above Spica. Saturn is low in the twilight, just above the horizon.

Saturn is visible low in the western evening twilight sky as the bright yellow object well below Venus and Mars. During the week Saturn comes closer to the horizon and is more difficult to see. On Thursday September 9 the thin crescent moon will be close to Saturn, but you will need a clear, level horizon to see them together.

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. Jupiter is well worth telescopic observation, and even in binoculars its Galilean moons are easily seen.

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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