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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday June 27 to Thursday July 4

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday June 30, this is a "Blue" Last Quarter Moon. Mars rises in the morning twilight. Venus and Mercury pull apart in the evening twilight. Saturn is high in the evening skies.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday June 30, this is a "Blue" Last Quarter Moon. That means it is the second Last Quarter Moon of the Month (the first was on the 1st of June). While not as deeply entrenched in our mental mythology as  "Blue" full Moons, they are still nice to think about.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 pm local time on Saturday June 29. Venus and Mercury have drawn apart. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local times.  Click to embiggen.

Venus and Mercury draw apart during the week.

Jupiter is lost in the twilight, although technically it enters the morning twilight at the end if this week, it will be hard t see until next week..  

Mercury  is visible below Venus and continues to lower towards the horizon.

Venus  climbs higher in the evening twilight. It can be seen 20 minutes after sunset and is now reasonably easy to see up to an hour and a half after sunset.

Saturn is easily visible above the north-eastern horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Libra. By 10 pm local time it is high above the northern-western horizon and very easy to see.This is an excellent time to view this planet in a small telescope, as there will be the little interference from horizon murk and air turbulence (and you can show the kids before they go to bed). At the start of the week Saturn is half a finger-width from the dim star Kappa Virginis, and is closest on July 1.

Saturn, Arcturus and Spica from a broad triangle above the northern-western horizon.

Opposition (when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth) was on April 28. However, Saturn will be a worthwhile evening target for telescopes of any size for several months. The sight of this ringed world is always amazing.

Morning sky on Thursday July 4 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:45 am local time in South Australia. Mars is below the red star Aldebaran in the twilight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars rises in the twilight, but will still be hard to see unless you have a flat, clear horizon. It forms a triangle with two red giant stars, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Saturn so prominent in the sky.  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. Especially during the school holidays.

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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