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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

 

The Sky This Week -September 1 to Thursday September 8

The First Quarter Moon is Monday September 5. Jupiter is high in the morning sky. Mars and Mercury are visible in the morning sky. Saturn is low in the western evening sky and visited by the Moon September 1. Comet C/2009 P1 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am local time on Sunday September 4 showing Mars, Mercury and the brighter stars. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Monday September 5.

In the morning Jupiter is high above the northern sky. Now is a good time to begin telescopic observation of this massive world, or follow its moons in binoculars.

Mars is low in the eastern sky, in the constellation of Gemini. Mars starts the week not far from the relatively bright star Wasat.

Bright white Venus is still lost in the twilight glow.

Mercury is quite close to the horizon in the morning skies. Mercury comes close to the bright star Regulus during the week, although you will need a clear level horizon to see it.

Evening sky on Thursday September 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 7:30 pm local time in South Australia showing Saturn in the early evening sky not far form the crescent Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Saturn is readily visible as the bright yellowish object not far from the bright star Spica. It is now too low in the sky for successful telescopic observation.

Saturn is not far from the crescent Moon on Thursday September 1, the Moon will be very close to the bright star Spica at this time.

Despite Saturns closeness to the horizon , 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 9:00 pm on Saturday September 3 looking north-east from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,

The asteroid Vesta is now past opposition, but is still readily visible in binoculars and is just atthe threshold of unaided eye visibility (magnitude 6). To see it with the unaided eye you will need to be in a dark sky location though.

Vesta starts the week very close to the relatively bright star Phi Capricorni, making it very easy to find. During the week it moves away from Phi Capricorni.

Vesta moves significantly night to night, so will be easy to follow. A chart showing Vesta's location is here.

The location of Comet C/2009 Garrad as seen at 9:30 pm Saturday September 3 looking north from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,

Comet C/2009 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the northern sky, in the constellation of Sagitta, the Arrow.

Although it has brightened substantially, it is still only a fuzzy dot at magnitude 7. The best views will be under dark skies, where you might spy a short faint tail. The best viewing is around 10:00 pm, when the comet is almost due north and highest in the sky. During the week the comet will be in binocular range of a number of clusters, including Brocchi's cluster .

A chart showing C/2009 P1'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.

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