Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Sky This Week -September 22 to Thursday September 29
Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am local time on Friday September 23 showing Mars, the brighter stars and the waning Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
The New Moon is Tuesday September 27.
In the morning Jupiter is high above the north-western sky. Now is a good time to begin telescopic observation of this massive world, or follow its moons in binoculars.
Jupiter is visible in the evening sky, from about 10 pm local time on. However, for good telescopic observation Jupiter is best from 1-3 am.
Mars is low in the eastern morning sky, in the constellation of Gemini. At the beginning of the week Mars is not far from the bright stars Castor and Pollux. On Friday September 23 the waning moon is close to Mars.
Bright white Venus is now visible low in the evening western twilight sky. On Wednesday September 28 the thing crescent Moon is close to Venus and Saturn. You will need a clear level horizon (like the ocean) to see them, and may need binoculars to pick out Saturn. Look around half an hour after sunset.
Mercury is lost in the twilight glow.
Comet 45P Honda enters the morning sky, but will be very hard to see in the twilight sky without a decent telescope.
Evening sky on Wednesday September 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 6:41 pm local time in South Australia showing Venus, the crescent Moon and Saturn in the early twilight evening sky. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).
Saturn is still visible low in the western sky as the bright yellowish object not far from the bright star Spica. It will be lost to observation by the end of the week.
Despite Saturns closeness to the horizon , there are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope.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 8:00 pm on Saturday September 24 looking north-east from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,
The asteroid Vesta is well past opposition, but is still readily visible in binoculars and is just below the threshold of unaided eye visibility (magnitude 6.5).
Vesta starts the week above the relatively bright star Phi Capricorni, making it very easy to find. During the week it stays roughly the same distance from Phi Capricorni.
Vesta is nearly at a stand still, so you may have to follow it for a few days to be sure. A chart showing Vesta's location is here.
The location of Comet C/2009 Garrad as seen at 8:00 pm Saturday September 24 looking north-west 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 north-western sky, in the constellation of Hercules.
Although it has brightened substantially, it is still only a fuzzy dot at magnitude 6.9. The best views will be under dark skies, where you might spy a short faint tail. The best viewing is around 8:00 pm, when the comet is still high in the sky.
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.
Labels: weekly sky