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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 4 to Thursday August 11

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday August 6. Jupiter is high in the morning sky. Mars enters Gemini. Saturn is low in the western evening sky. The Moon visits Saturn on August 4. Mercury is lost to sight in the twilight. Comet C/2009 P1 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am local time on Sunday August 7 showing the Mars and the constellations. Mars is close to the open cluster M35. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday August 6.

In the morning Jupiter is high above the north-eastern sky. Mars is low in the eastern sky, closing in on Gemini. On Sunday August 7 Mars is near the open cluster M35 (you will need binoculars to see M35).

Bright white Venus is now lost in the twilight glow and swift Mercury will follow at the end of the week.

Evening sky on Thursday August 4 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 9:00 pm local time in South Australia showing the Moon, and Saturn in the early evening sky. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mercury is still close to the bright star Regulus at the beginning of the week, but you will need a fairly clear, level horizon to see them. By the end of the week Mercury is lost in the twilight glow.

Saturn is readily visible as the bright yellowish object not far from the bright star Spica. It is getting lower in the sky, and the window for telescopic observation is narrower. OnThursday August 4 the waxing Moon is close to Saturn.

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, Saturn is still big and beautiful.

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 August 7 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 and is just over the threshold of unaided eye visibility (magnitude 5.7). To see it with the unaided eye you will need to be in a dark sky location though.

Vesta is now close to the relatively bright star 24 Capricorni, making it very easy to find. 24 Capricorni is the fifth star up and to the right 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.

The location of Comet C/2009 Garrad as seen at 10:00 pm August 6 looking north from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,

Comet C/2009 Garrad is now visible in binoculars in the northern sky, in the constellation of Pegasus. It is only a fuzzy dot, and will be hard to locate under suburban skies, but it is within binocular distance of the globular cluster M15 on the 4th and 5th. So if you have dark skies it is well worth watching. 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.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

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