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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday October 25 to Thursday November 1

The Full  Moon is Tuesday October 30. Mars climbs the scorpion and comes close to some beautiful clusters. Mercury rises higher in the western evening sky.  Jupiter is visible in the late evening sky and is visited by the Moon on November 1. In the morning skies Jupiter and Venus can be readily seen amongst some beautiful constellations.

Evening sky on Thursday November 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 11:30 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia. The nearly full Moon makes a triangle with Jupiter and Aldebaran. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The Full  Moon is Tuesday October 30.

Jupiter is easily seen above the northern horizon in the early morning sky. Jupiter is below the Hyades, between the red star Aldebaran and the dimmer blue white star Elnath. Jupiter stays in roughly the same position for most of the week.

Jupiter, Aldebaran and the red star Betelgeuse in Orion form a long triangle in the sky. With the Pleiades cluster and the constellation of Orion close by, this is a beautiful sight. 

Jupiter is now seen in the late evening sky, rising shortly before 11 pm. On the evening of November 1 the nearly full Moon makes a triangle with Jupiter and Aldebaran.

On the 28th-29th, starting at 23:20 am AEDST, there is a nice series of transits and shadow transits of Jupiters Moon Io.

Bright white Venus is still moderately  high above the eastern horizon, but continues sinking lower over the week. Venus looks like a waxing Moon when seen through even a small telescope.

Venus is in the constellation of Virgo. On the 26th and 27th it is close to beta Virginis. Venus is now relatively low to the horizon, but still clearly visible in twlight skies. It will become harder to see over the coming weeks. Venus will still be bright, but hard to see from cluttered horizons.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm local daylight time on Thursday November 1. Mercury is in the head of the scorpion. Mars is high in the body of the Scorpion. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.

Saturn is lost in the twilight.

Mercury is still rapidly rising in the sky, but is now becoming dimmer. This will be the best time to see the swift inner planet in the evening this year. It is still the brightest object just above the western horizon towards the end of twilight.

Over the week Mercury rises towards the head of the Scorpion. By November 1 it will be in the head of the Scorpion near delta Scorpii.

Mars continues to move through Scorpius. Mars is third brightest object in the western sky (after Mercury and the red star Antares, which is just a little brighter than Mars). Mars's distinctive red colour makes it relatively easy to spot. From around the 27th Mars will be in binocular range of several beautiful clusters.

Mars sets shortly after 11:00 pm local daylight saving timetime.

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.

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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