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Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday May 31 to Thursday June 7

The Full Moon is Monday June 4, there is a partial Lunar Eclipse this night. The transit of Venus is on Wednesday June 6. Mars is in the western evening sky, close to the bright Star Regulus. On the 1st the waxing Moon is close to Saturn and Spica. Saturn is visible near the star Spica.

Morning sky on Wednesday June 6  looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 7:45 am local time in South Australia showing the Sun rising. The left inset shows the appearance of Venus seen telescopically at this time with Venus just entering the Sun's disk. The right inset shows the appearance of the Sun and Venus near maximum transit. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen)

Bright white Venus is is lost in the twilight.

On June 6 Venus will cross the disk of the Sun in a rare transit, the last until 2117. The transit starts at around 8:15 am on the East coast, 7:45 am in the central states, and in WA the Sun rises with the transit in progress. Mid transit is around 11:30 am and the transit finishes at 2:44 pm on the east coast, 2:15 pm in the central states and 12:46 in WA.

See my Transit Webpage for more details of when the transit is,  how to view it, public viewings and webcams. My guide to binocular projection is here.

Evening sky looking North as seen from Adelaide at 7 :30 pm local time on Friday June 1 showing Mars and Regulus. The waxing Moon, Saturn and Spica form a nice triangle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. The inset shows the telescopic appearance of Saturn  at this time. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Monday June 4. There will be a partial Lunar Eclipse, with slightly less than 40% of the Moon being covered by Earths shadow. The eclipse starts at the family friendly  7:59 pm AEDST, and mid eclipse is 9:03 pm AEDST. this will be an excellent opportunity to see a nice partial eclipse.

Mars is in the constellation of Leo. It is the brightest object in the north-western sky, and its distinctive red colour makes it easy to spot. Mars is rising before sunset and is at its highest in the northern sky around 6:30 pm local time.

Mars is not far from the bright star Regulus in Leo. However, it continues to move away over the week.

Mars was at opposition on March 4, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Sadly, this is a poor opposition and Mars will be fairly small in modest telescopes.

Saturn is above the northern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is high enough in the northern sky for telescopic observation in the evening, being highest at 9:15 pm local time. local time. Saturn was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 16th of April, but now is still a great time for telescopic views of this ringed world. On Friday June 1 Saturn, Spica and the Moon form a nice triangle in the sky.

Jupiter and Mercury are lost in the twilight.

With Mars past opposition and Saturn high in the sky, 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.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


Hi Ian, no mention of the partial lunar eclipse on the 4th . . . ? ;)
Dash it all, forgot that in the Transit frenzy. Updated the post with eclipse details. Thanks for the heads up.
Hi Ian,
A friend and I were outside last night around 2 am, and the moon was red and then it eclipsed, but I can't find anything about it? Did we dream this?
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