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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - September 29 to Thursday October 6

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday October 4. Venus is low in the western evening twilight along with Saturn. Jupiter appears in the evening sky. Mars is visible in the morning sky and on the 29th and 1st is in the heart of the Beehive Cluster. Comet C/2009 P1 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the north-western sky.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am local time on Sunday October 2 showing Mars and the brighter stars. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday October 4.

In the morning Jupiter is above the north-western horizon. 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 Cancer. At the beginning of the week Mars is not far from the bright star cluster the Beehive cluster. On the 30th of September and 1st of October Mars will be in the heart of the Beehive. This is best viewed with binoculars.

Comet 45P Honda is low in the morning sky, but will be very hard to see in the twilight sky without a decent telescope.

Bright white Venus is now visible low in the evening western twilight sky not far from 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.

Evening sky on Sunday October 2 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Jupiter. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Saturn is too close to the horizon to be seen without binoculars at twilight.

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 October 1 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 not far below the threshold of unaided eye visibility (magnitude 6.9).

Vesta starts the week above the relatively bright star Phi Capricorni, making it very easy to find. During the week it gets closer to 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 October 1 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 reasonably 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.

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