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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The Sky This Week - Thursday June 30 to Thursday July 7

The New Moon is Friday July 1. Venus becomes difficult to see. Jupiter high in the morning sky. Mars close to the star Aldebaran. Mercury returns to the evening sky. Saturn is still close to the star Porrima, gamma Virginis.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am local time onFriday July 1 showing Jupiter and Mars. Mars is close to the red star Aldebaran. Venus is just rising above the horizon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Friday July 1.

In the morning Jupiter is high above the north-eaastern sky. Mars is low in the eastern sky, close to te bright red star Aldebaran.

After dominating the morning sky for months, bright white Venus is now barely rising above the horizon before twilight. This is the last week to see Venus before it dissapears in the twilight glow.

Evening sky on Sunday July 3 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 pm local time in South Australia showing Mercury and the crescent Moon together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mercury returns to the evening sky in July. On the evening of Sunday July 3 the crescent Moon is close to Mercury, but you will need a clear, level horizon to see them.

Saturn is readily visible as the bright yellowish object not far from the bright star Spica. It is high enough for telescopic observation in the early evening. Saturn is still close to the star Porrima (gamma Virginis). They are moving apart, but are still reasonably close together.

The big storm on Saturn is now so large that it is visible in even small telescopes. See here for some stunning amateur images.

Even in small telescopes you can see Saturn's rings and it's moon Titan. Despite being past opposition, when Saturn was at its biggest, being well past, Saturn will be big and beautiful for many weeks to come.

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 location of Vesta as seen at 22:30 pm on July 1st looking east from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,

The asteroid Vesta is becoming brighter and is now readily visible in binoculars (magnitude 6.3), near iota Capricorni, making it very easy to find. Iota Capricorni is the third star up and to the left of the brightest star in Capricornus (see image to left). Vesta moves significantly night to night, so will be easy to follow. A chart showing Vesta's location is here.

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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