Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The Sky This Week - Thursday March 17 to Thursday March 24
Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am daylight saving time on Sunday March 20 showing Venus in Capricorn, not far from the bright star gamma Capricornii. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
The Full Moon is Sunday March 20. It is at perigee, when the Moon is closest to the Earth, but it is not the closest perigee for 19 years. Earth is at Equinox on the 21st.
Bright white Venus is readily seen in the early morning sky.
Venus is "gibbous" phase, and will progressively become more full (and smaller) over the coming weeks.
Evening sky on Monday March 21 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11:00 pm daylight saving time in South Australia showing Saturn and the Moon near Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.
Inset, the telescopic view of Saturn on the 21st (and on the morning of the 22nd), you will need a fairly large telescope to see any moon other than Titan. Click to embiggen.
Saturn is rising well before midnight, and is high enough for telescopic observation in the late evening, although it is best seen in the early morning. It readily visible not far from the bright star Spica.
The big storm on Saturn is now so large that it is visible in even small telescopes.
Even in small telescopes you can see Saturn's rings and it's moon Titan. Titan is close to Saturn on the 16th.
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.
The asteroid Vesta is quite faint (magnitude 7.6), so you need binoculars to see it and may need to watch over a number of nights to make sure you are seeing it. You will need to get up a bit before 5:00 am local daylight saving time when the sky is still very dark. You will also need good, steady binoculars or a small telescope, and to make sure your eyes are dark adapted, in order to see Vesta, but it will be worthwhile. Vesta is brightening and will be (just) visible to the unaided eye in a few months time.
Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen.
Mercury is too close to the Sun to be seen.
Jupiter is too close to the Sun to be 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.
Labels: weekly sky