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Wednesday, June 06, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday June 7 to Thursday June 14

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday June 11.  Mars is in the western evening sky.  Saturn is visible near the star Spica. Jupiter and Mercury return to the morning and evening skies respectively.

Morning sky on Sunday June 10  looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:45 am local time in South Australia. 
Jupiter is above the horizon, not far from the Pleiades cluster. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter returns to the morning sky this week. It will be hard to see until late in the week, but if you have a fairly flat, uncluttered horizon it will look quite nice in the early twilight.

Bright white Venus is is lost in the twilight but will be seen juts peeping over the horizon by the end of the week.

Evening sky looking North as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local time on Saturday June 9 showing Mars, Saturn and Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.
The Last Quarter Moon is Monday June 11.

Mars is in the constellation of Leo but is now heading swiftly for the constellation of Virgo. 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 6:15 pm local time.

Mars is close to the bright star sigma Leonis by the end of 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 9:00 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.

Mercury returns to the evening sky and by the end of the week can be seen low above the westen sky shortly after sunset. Best seen with a flat, uncluttered horizon. .

Have you seen the Emu?  The Emu is an aboriginal constellation composed of dark clouds in the Milky Way. Best seen far away from the city lights, outer suburbs may also see it in the early evening before the Moon rises.

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.

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