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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 20 to Thursday January 27

The Last Quarter Moon is Wednesday January 26. Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. Venus is visible in the morning sky not far from the bright star Antares with Mercury not far below. Saturn is well placed for telescopic observation.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am daylight saving time on Sunday January 21 showing Venus, Mercury and the bright star Antares. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Wednesday January 26. The Moon is closest to the Earth on the 22nd.

Bright white Venus is now readily seen in the early morning sky not far from the bright red star Antares.

Venus, Antares and Mercury form a large triangle in the morning sky. Venus's crescent shape is easily seen in small telescopes. Venus is now in "First quarter" phase and will progressively decrease in size and wax towards "gibbous" over the coming weeks.

Mercury is now readily visible in the morning sky below Venus.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:30 am daylight saving time on Wednesday January 26 showing Saturn, the Moon and the bright star Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

Saturn, is high enough for telescopic observation in the early morning. It readily visible above the north-eastern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. You might be able too see the big storm on Saturn if your telescope is big enough.

On Tuesday January 25 and Wednesday January 26 the waning Moon is close to Saturn. On the 26th the Moon is very close to the bright star Spica too.



Evening sky looking west showing Jupiter and Uranus at 9:30 pm local daylight saving time on Wednesday January 26. Click to embiggen.

Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen.

Jupiter can be readily seen from twilight until it sets in the late evening. Jupiter now spends most of the evening above the north-western horizon.

Jupiter is excellent in binoculars and small telescopes.

Jupiter and Uranus are still close together, and are readily seen together in binoculars. However, they are drawing apart over this and coming weeks.

Uranus is the second brightest object north of Jupiter and the star 20 Piscium. Uranus in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions. A binocular spotters map is here.

Jupiter's Moons are always interesting, in binoculars or telescopes of any size. There are lots of opportunities to see cool Jupiter Moon events (scroll down until you hit Jupiter).

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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