Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Sky This Week - Thursday January 31 to Thursday February 7
Morning sky on Sunday February 3 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 3:00 am local daylight saving time in South Australia. The inset shows a telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).
The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday February 3.
Saturn is now readily visible above the north-eastern horizon before dawn. Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky, becoming easier to see. Saturn rises shortly after midnight, so it is high enough to be worthwhile in a small telescope in the pre-dawn dark. Saturn is in the constellation of Libra, and is visited by the Moon on Sunday February 3.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Morning sky on Sunday February 3 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:36 am local daylight saving time in South Australia (at the end of nautical twilight, an hour before dawn). Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).
Bright white Venus is now quite low above the eastern horizon, really only visible half an hour before sunrise and hard to see from cluttered horizons. Venus looks like a waxing Moon when seen through even a small telescope.
Venus starts the week in Sagittarius and ends in Capricornius.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS is brightening, and is visible in telescopes and binoculars, but is rapidly washed out by the advancing twilight.
On the 1st and 2nd of February PANSTARRS may be seen close to the brightish double star beta Sagittarii.
In late February this may be a good unaided eye comet.
Evening sky looking North as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 pm local daylight saving time on Sunday, February 3. The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time. At this time the ISS is quite close to Jupiter as seen from Adelaide. The inset shows the view of Jupiter's Moons at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
Jupiter is visible for most of the night, and is the brightest object in the evening sky. Despite opposition having just passed on the December the 3rd 2012, Jupiter is prominent in the northern early evening sky, being quite visible in the twilight. Jupiter is below the Hyades, near the red star Aldebaran. Jupiter remains near Aldebaran during the week, making it look as if the Bull has two eyes.
Jupiter, Aldebaran and the white star Rigel in Orion form a long line in the sky. With the Pleiades cluster and the constellation of Orion close by, this is a beautiful sight.
Jupiter is easily seen in the late evening sky, rising around 4:00 pm local daylight saving time and is highest in the north by 9:00 pm. Now is a perfect time to observe Jupiter with a telescope of any size in the evening. Jupiters' Moons are easily seen in binoculars, and can be followed from night to night changing position.
On the 3rd Europa is occulted by Jupiter at 21:35 ACST, it reappears at 00:02 on the 4th, then almost immediately goes into eclipse, reappearing at 2:33.
Mars is lost in the twilight.
Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon's location as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST on Saturday 2 January. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia and New Zealand at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).
Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) is a nice little binocular comet, it is now traversing the minor , and will pass close to the Small Magellanic Cloud 0n February 14-15.
It is brightening rapidly, and is (just) visible to the unaided eye in dark sky locations. You will need to watch before Moon rise to see it with the unaided eye, and to see it at its best in a telescope or binoculars.
For charts, printable spotters maps and observing hints, see this page.
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.
Labels: weekly sky