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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday December 1 to Thursday December 8

The First Quarter Moon is Friday December 2. Venus is easily visible in the western evening while Mercury is lost in the twilight. Jupiter dominates the evening sky once Venus has set. Jupiter is close to the waxing Moon on December 6. Mars is visible in the morning sky and is close to the star Regulus. Saturn is now visible in the morning sky near the star Spica.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am local daylight saving time on Sunday December 3 showing Mars near Regulus and Saturn near Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Friday December 2.

Mars is in the north-eastern morning sky, in the constellation of Leo. Mars is not far from the bright star Regulus and draws further away over the week.


In the morning Jupiter low is above the western horizon, setting before twilight.

Saturn is low above the north- eastern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica.

Evening sky on Thursday December 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 8:45 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus in Sagittarius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen)

Bright white Venus is readily visible in the evening western twilight sky from around half an hour after sunset for somewhat over an hour. Venus is now in Sagittarius, on Thursday 1 December it is just below Kaus Borealis, the brightish star that forms the lid of the "teapot" of Sagittarius.

If you have strong binoculars, and a clear level western horizon, wait until a bit after an hour after sunset, and you may be able to see the globular clusters the venus is close to. On the 1st Venus is near dimmish M28, on the 3rd Venus is close to the brighter M22. In binoculars these look like little puffs of cotton wool.

Mercury is now lost in the twilight.

Jupiter was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on Saturday the 29th of October. However, Jupiter will be a great binocular and telescope object for many weeks to come. Jupiter is visible for most of the night, setting just before morning twilight.

Evening sky on Tuesday December 6 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Jupiter and the Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. INSET: Jupiter and its Moons as seen at this time, Ganymede transits Jupiter from 20:47 ACDST (click to embiggen)

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 9 pm - 1 am.

There are some good Jupiter Moon events, but these are mostly in the early hours of the morning.

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 the variable star Mira as seen at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time Saturday December 3looking north-east from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. The circle marks the position of Mira. Click to embiggen,

The variable star Mira is still bright enough to see with the unaided eye just above and to the right of Jupiter. It will continue to fade, and by mid week the light of the Moon will make it very difficult to see.

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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