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Monday, July 08, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday July 11 to Thursday July 18

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday July 15. Mars rises in the morning twilight and chased by Jupiter. Mercury returns to the morning sky. Venus is readily visible in the evening twilight and is visited by the Moon on the 11th. Saturn is high in the evening skies and is close to the Moon on the 17th.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday July 15. On the 16th the Moon is close to the bright Star Spica

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 pm local time on Thursday July 11. Venus is below the crescent Moon, which forms a triangle with it and the bright star Regulus. 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.

On the the 11th the crescent Moon is above above Venus, making a fine evening sight. As the week goes on, Venus comes closer to the bright star Regulus.

Saturn is easily visible above the northern horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. 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).

Saturn, Arcturus and Spica from a broad triangle above the northern-western horizon. On the 17th the waxing Moon is close to Saturn

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 Saturday July 14 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:45 am local time in South Australia. Mars is near the star Elnath, one of the horns of the Bull, in the twilight, and Jupiter is catching up to it, ready for their close encounter next week. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars rises in the morning twilight, but will still be best if  you have a flat, clear horizon. It forms a broad triangle with two red giant stars, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse.

Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, you still need a flat, unobstructed eastern horizon to see it at its best. During the week Jupiter rises higher in the twilight comes closer to Mars, ready for their vclose encounter next week.
Mercury enters the morning twilight this week. You really need a flat, unobstructed eastern horizon to see it at the moment, but the view will improve over the coming weeks.

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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