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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 26 to Thursday August 2

The Full Moon is Thursday August 2. Mars is in the western evening sky closing in on Saturn. Saturn is visible near the star Spica in the north-western sky. In the morning skies Jupiter and Venus can be seen near each other forming a triangle with the red star Aldebaran. On July 28 the Moon will occult Omicron Scorpii, also on that night is the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower.


Morning sky on Sunday July 29  looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am local time in South Australia. 
Jupiter is not far from Venus in the Hyades, making a long triangle with the red star Aldebaran.The Pleiades cluster is close by. The left  inset shows the telescopic view of Venus. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky and is now easy to see. Jupiter moves through the Hyades over the week. Jupiter and Venus form a triangle with the red star Aldebaran.

With the Pleiades cluster and the constellation of Orion close by, this is a beautiful morning sight.

Bright white Venus climbs higher above the horizon this week. Venus looks like the waxing Moon when seen through even a small telescope.


Evening sky looking North as seen from Adelaide at 9:22 pm local time on Saturday July 28 showing the  Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.
 
The Full Moon is Thursday August 2.

The nearly full Moon passes in front of the moderately bright stars Omicron Scorpii 1 and 2 (magnitudes 3.9 and 4.2) in the head of the Scorpion on the evening of Saturday July 28. This event is visible from all of Australia, although both stars are covered only in some states.
The Moon rises in the head of the Scorpion near Omicron Scorpii 1 and 2. The dark limb of the Moon covers the stars at 21:24 pm ACST Adelaide (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 22:22 AEST Brisbane (Omicron Scorpii 1), 22:14 AEST Canberra (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 21:36 pm ACST Darwin (Omicron Scorpii 2, Omicron Scorpii 1 graze), 22:19 pm AEST Hobart (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 22:08 pm AEST Melbourne (Omicron Scorpii 1), 19:03 AWST Perth (Omicron Scorpii 1) and 22:18 pm AEST Sydney (Omicron Scorpii 1 only).

The bright limb of the Moon uncovers the stars at 22:38 pm ACDST Adelaide (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 23:34 AEST Brisbane, 23:19 AEST Canberra (Omicron Scorpii 1), 22:55 pm ACST Darwin (Omicron Scorpii 2), 22:57 pm AEST Hobart (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 23:10 pm AEST Melbourne (Omicron Scorpii 1 only), 20:27 AWST Perth (Omicron Scorpii 1) and 23:23 pm AEST Sydney (Omicron Scorpii 1 only).

With the Moon two days past first Quarter, this event is really best seen with binoculars or a small telescope (especially for the reappearance of the stars against the bright edge of the Moon). If you have a tripod or other stand for your binoculars, it will be much easier to observe. With the Moon in the head of the Scorpion it will look rather attractive.


Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Mars is in the constellation of Virgo. It's brightest object in the north-western sky, and its distinctive red colour makes it easy to spot. Mars sets shortly after 11:00 pm local time.

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.

Evening sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local time on Saturday July 28 the location of the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower radiant. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.

Saturn is above the north-western 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 5:50 pm 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 in the early evening.

The Southern Delta Aquariids are a reasonably reliable meteor shower that peaks on Saturday 28 July. The number of meteors you will see depends on how high the radiant is above the horizon, and how dark your sky is. After the Moon sets, at 3:00 am (29th), when the radiant is highest, those with dark skies can expect to see a meteor every 4 minutes.

With Saturn still reasonably 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 AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. 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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Comments:
Hello mate, I'm in Ecuador at the moment about 3km above sea level in the Andes on the equator. Makes for great celestial viewing. I saw about thirty shooting stars and four satellites last night, the multitude of stars is incredible and the milky way is stunning!

Venus, Jupiter, Aldebaran and Orion were a phenomenal sight as they rose over the Andes in the morning. Will try get some photos! (:

Vito
 
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