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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 27 to Thursday February 3

The New Moon is Thursday February 3. Jupiter is easily seen in the early evening sky. Venus is visible in the morning sky not far from the bright star Antares with Mercury not far below. The Moon vists Venus on 30 January and Mercury of February 2. On February 1 the Moon passes in front of the bright star pi Sagittarii. 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 30 showing Venus, The crescent Moon, Mercury and the bright star Antares. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Thursday February 3.

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 is now in "First quarter" phase and will progressively decrease in size and wax towards "gibbous" over the coming weeks. On the morning of Sunday January 30 the Crescent Moon is near Venus.

Mercury is now readily visible in the morning sky below Venus. On the Morning of Thursday February 2 the crescent Moon is below Mercury. You will need a fairly clear, level horizon to see this meeting at its best.

Morning sky on February 1 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:40 am daylight saving time in South Australia showing pi Sagittarii about to be covered by the Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Moon passes in front of the moderately bright star pi Sagittarii on the morning of Tuesday February 1. The moon covers the star at around 6:00 am daylight saving time in the eastern states, 5:40 am ACDST in South Australia, and uncovers the star at 3:50 am in WA.

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.

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 early evening. Jupiter now spends most of the evening above the north-western horizon.

Jupiter is excellent in binoculars.

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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