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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 3 to Thursday February 10

The New Moon is Thursday February 3. Jupiter is easily seen in the early evening sky. The moon visits Jupiter on February 7. Venus is visible in the morning sky not far from the bright star Antares with Mercury below. Venus comes close to some bright deep sky objects on February 5 and Mercury is harder to observe. Saturn is well placed for telescopic observation.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am daylight saving time on Saturday February 5 showing Venus, 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 readily seen in the early morning sky below the bright red star Antares. just above the lid of the "Teapot" of Saggitarius.

Venus, Antares and Mercury form a line in the morning sky at the beginning of the week. 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 Saturday February 5 Venus passes between the classic cluster M23 and the Triffid nebula M20. This will look very nice in binoculars in the early morning before twilight starts.

Mercury is visible in the morning sky below Venus. You will need a fairly clear, level horizon to see Mercury at its best and it becomes progressively more difficult to see during the week.

Morning sky on February 5 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am daylight saving time in South Australia showing Saturn near 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 northern 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.

Even in small telescopes you can see Saturn's moon Titan. Over the week Titan draws close to Saturn.




Evening sky looking west showing Jupiter and Uranus at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time on Monday February 7. 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 is above the north-western horizon, setting around 10:30 pm daylight saving time.

On the evening of Monday February 7, the crescent Moon is near Jupiter.

Jupiter is too close to the horizon for good telescopic views, but its moons are excellent in binoculars.

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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