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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


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

The Full Moon is Thursday March 8. Venus is easily visible in the western evening sky close to Jupiter. Jupiter is low in the evening sky in the north-west once Venus has set. Venus and Jupiter come closer together during the week. Mars is in the late eastern evening sky, not far from Saturn, which is near the star Spica. Mars is at opposition on the 4th, and is close to the Fulll Moon on the 8th.

Evening sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11:00 pm local daylight saving time on Thursday March 8 showing Mars near the Full Moon and Saturn near Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. The inset shows the telescopic appearance of Saturn and it's Moons at this time. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Thursday March 8.

Mars is in the constellation of Leo. It is the brightest object in the north eastern sky, and its distinctive red colour makes it easy to spot. Mars is rising around 8:00 pm (local daylight saving time), and is at its highest around 1 am. On the 8th Mars is close to the Full Moon.

Mars is at opposition on March 4, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Sadly, this is a poor opposition and Mars will be fairly small in modest telescopes. Even so, you should be still able to see the polar caps, so still have a go if you have a telescope.

Saturn is above the north- eastern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is high enough in the northern sky in the early morning for telescopic observation, but is rising about 11:00 pm local daylight saving time.

Mercury is lost in twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday March 3 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus in Pisces, with Jupiter not far away and the crescent Moon in between them. The insets shows the appearance of Venus and Jupiter and its Moons as seen telescopically 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 Pisces this week and continues to come closer to Jupiter. The pair are quite easy to see together.

In the evening Jupiter is readily visible in the northern-western sky, from about twilight. Telescopic observation of Jupiter is now very difficult.

However, Jupiter is still a great binocular object. Jupiter is visible until around 10 pm local daylight saving time.

With Mars at opposition and Saturn rising, 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.

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 February a little later).

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


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