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Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday August 1 to Thursday August 8

The New Moon is Wednesday August 7. Mars, Jupiter and Mercury form a line in the morning twilight. Mercury becomes lower in the morning sky. The crescent Moon visits Mars and Jupiter on the 4th and Mercury on the 5th. Venus is readily visible in the evening twilight and is heading towards the bright star Beta Virginis. Saturn is high in the western evening sky.

The New Moon is Wednesday August 7. The Moon is at Apogee on the 3rd.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 pm local time on Saturday August 3. Venus is quite high in the evening sky heading for Beta Viriginis (out of frame at the top). Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local times.  Click to embiggen.

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

Venus comes closer to heading for Beta Viriginis as it climbs higher in the sky.

Saturn is easily visible above the western horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. By 10 pm local time it is  above the western horizon and very easy to see. This is still 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).

Saturn, Arcturus and Spica form a long triangle above the 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 a while. The sight of this ringed world is always amazing.

Morning sky on Sunday August 4 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am local time in South Australia. Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury form a line in the morning sky, with the crescent Moon above Jupiter. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars rises higher in the morning twilight. It forms a  a line with the bright stars Betelgeuse and Rigel.

Mars, Jupiter and Mercury start the week forming a line in the morning twilight.

Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, above Mars.  During the week Jupiter rises higher and continues to move away from Mars. On the 4th the crescent Moon is above Jupiter.
Mercury lowers in  the morning twilight this week. On the 5th the crescent Moon is above Mercury.

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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