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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 22 to Thursday November 29

The Full Moon is Thursday November 29. Mars is in Sagittarius and is close to the globular clusters M28 and M22. Mercury returns to the morning sky.  Jupiter is visible in the late evening sky and is visited by the Moon on the 28th. In the morning skies Venus is low on the horizon.  Saturn is visible low in the morning sky and is closest to Venus on the 27th.

Morning sky on Tuesday November 27 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:15 am local daylight saving time in South Australia. Saturn and Venus are at their closest, Mercury is just on the horizon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The Full Moon is Thursday November 29.  

Bright white Venus is now low above the eastern horizon, but is still not too difficult to see.

Venus is in the constellation of Virgo.  Venus is 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. Venus looks like a waxing Moon when seen through even a small telescope.

Saturn is now visible above the horizon before dawn. Saturn rises towards Venus during the week with the pair closest on the 27th.

Mercury returns to the morning sky, but is difficult to see in the twilight.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 9:00 pm local daylight time on Saturday November 24. Mars is in Sagittarius near the globular cluster M28. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.

Mars is in the constellation  Sagittarius. Mars is now the brightest object in the western sky as the red star Antares, is lost in the twilight. Mars's distinctive red colour makes it relatively easy to spot.

Mars will be in binocular range of several beautiful clusters for most of the month, but is closest to two signature globular clusters this week. On the 24th Mars is closest to M28, a nice litte binocular cluster, and on the 28th it is closest to M22, one of the finest globular clusters in the sky.

Mars sets shortly after 10:30 pm local daylight saving 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.

Jupiter is still seen above the north-western horizon in the early morning sky. Jupiter is below the Hyades, between the red star Aldebaran and the dimmer blue white star Elnath, although closer to Aldebaran. Jupiter moves slowly towards Aldebaran during the week, making it look as if the Bull has two eyes.

Jupiter, Aldebaran and the red star Betelgeuse in Orion form a long thin 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 around 9:00 pm local daylight saving time and is moderately high by midnight. It is now a reasonable telescopic object in the evening. Jupiters' Moons are easily seen in binoculars, and can be follwed from night to night changing position.  

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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