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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 19 to Thursday January 26

The New Moon is Monday January 23. Venus is easily visible in the western evening sky and is visited by the Moon on the 26th. Jupiter dominates the evening sky in the north-west once Venus has set. Mars enetrs the evening sky, but is best visible in the morning sky heading towards Saturn, which is near the star Spica. Globe at Night Light Pollution Survey now on.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 3:00 am local daylight saving time on Sunday January 22 showing Mars and Saturn. The inset Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. The inset shows the appearance of Saturn and it's Moons at this time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Monday January 23. The Globe at Night, international light pollution survey, is January 14-23 followed by February 12-21, March 13-22 and April 11-20.

Mars is high in the northern morning sky. After so long in the constellation of Leo, Mars now enters the constellation of Virgo, heading towards Spica and Saturn. Mars has now entered the evening sky, rising around 11 pm (local daylight saving time), but will be low above the late evening horizon for the rest of the week.

Saturn is above the north- eastern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is now high enough in sky in the early morning for telescopic observation.

Mercury is now lost in morning twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday January 26 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus in Aquarius, with the crescent Moon below and Jupiter not far away. The iset shows the appearance of Venus at this time. 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 and a half. Venus is in Aquarius this week. It passes lambda Aquarii (magnitude 3.8) on the 23rd and 24th. You will have to wait until quite late in the twilight to see this star appear.

Jupiter was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on Saturday the 29th of October.

However, Jupiter is still a great binocular and telescope object and will be for many weeks to come. Jupiter is visible for most of the night in the north-western sky, setting half an hour after midnight.

Evening sky on Saturday January 21 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Jupiter and the waxing Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. INSET: Jupiter and its Moons as seen telescopically at this time, (click to embiggen)

In the evening Jupiter is readily visible in the northern sky, from about twilight, and the north-western sky when it is fully dark.

Now is a good time for telescopic observation of this massive world, or follow its moons in binoculars. For good telescopic observation Jupiter is best from 9 pm - 11 pm.



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.

Comet Lovejoy will be very difficult to spot as it has faded significantly, you need very serious telescopic kit to see it now..

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch (this will be up dated to January a little later).

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

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