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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday August 23 to Thursday August 30

The First Quarter Moon is Friday August 24. Mars, Saturn and the star Spica form a triangle in the western sky. This grouping is visited by the waxing Moon on the 23rd. In the morning skies Jupiter and Venus can be readily seen amongst some beautiful constellations.

Morning sky on Sunday August 26 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am local time in South Australia. Jupiter below the Hyades making a long triangle with the red star Betelgeuse and Venus.The Pleiades cluster is close by. The right inset shows the telescopic view of Venus. The left inset shows the location of the Moons of Jupiter at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The First Quarter Moon is Friday August 24.

Jupiter is now easily seen in the early morning sky. Jupiter is below the Hyades over the week.

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

Jupiter's Moons are a delight anytime, but on the morning of the 28th Jupiter's satellites are clustered close to Jupiter, with an occultation of  of Europa. Well worth a look in even a small telescope.

Bright white Venus is  high above the eastern horizon. Venus looks like a half Moon when seen through even a small telescope.

Jupiter, Venus and the red star Betelgeuse in Orion form a long triangle in the sky. Venus, Betelgeuse and Procyon form another triangle

Mercury is low in the twilight.It will be enormously difficult to see unless you have a flat level horizon like the sea.

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 10:30 pm local time. On Thursday 23 August the waxing Moon is above Mars.

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 west as seen from Adelaide at 9:00 pm local time on Thursday August 23. Mars,  Saturn and the bright star Spica form a triangle. The waxing Moon is not far above the triangle. 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 still high enough in the northern sky for telescopic observation in the early evening, although not for long. Saturn was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 16th of April, but now is still a good time for telescopic views of this ringed world in the early evening.

Mars, Saturn and the bright white star Spica from an attractive triangle in the evening sky at the beginning of the week. Over the week, the triangle becomes larger as Mars moves away from Saturn and Spica. On Thursday 23 August the waxing Moon is above Mars in this triangle.

With Saturn still modestly high in the sky in te early evening, 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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