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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday October 27 to Thursday November 3

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday November 3. Venus is easily visible in the western evening twilight with Mercury below it. The Moon joins Venus and Mercury on the 28th. Jupiter now dominates the evening sky and is at opposition on the 29th. Mars is visible in the morning sky nearing the star Regulus . 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 daylight saving time on Sunday October 30 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 Thursday November 3.

Jupiter is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on Saturday the 29th. Jupiter is visible all night long now.

In the morning Jupiter low is above the north-western horizon.

In the evening Jupiter is readily visible in the north-eastern sky, from about 7 pm local time on. Now is a good time to begin telescopic observation of this massive world, or follow its moons in binoculars. For good telescopic observation Jupiter is best from 10 pm - 1 am. Although it is biggest and brightest on the 20th, Jupiter will be excellent viewing for a couple of months now.

Mars is low in the north-eastern morning sky, in the constellation of Leo. Mars comes closer to the bright star Regulus over the week.

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

Saturn is lost in the twilight glow.


Evening sky on Friday October 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus and Mercury. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen)

Bright white Venusand Mercury are now readily visible in the evening western twilight sky from around half an hour after sunset for somewhat over an hour.

Mercury is visible below Venus at the beginning of the week, and becomes more prominent, and closer to Venus, as the week wears on. Both planets climb higher in the evening sky over the week. On the evening of Friday the 28th, the thin crescent Moon is close to the pair, making excellent viewing.

ALthough Jupiter is the most prominent now, 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 Comet C/2009 Garrad as seen at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time Saturday October 29 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 Ophiuchus.

Although it has brightened substantially, it is still only a fuzzy dot at magnitude 6.5. The best views will be under dark skies, where you might spy a short faint tail.

The best viewing is just before 9:00 pm, when the sky is dark enough to reveal the comet and it is not too close to the horizon. This will be the last week the comet will be easily visible, before it comes too close to the horizon for viewing. It will enter the morning sky in November.

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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