Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The Sky This Week - Thursday July 18 to Thursday July 25
The Full Moon is Tuesday July 23. On the 22nd the Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth.
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 starts the week below the bright star Regulus. As the week goes on, Venus comes closer and the pair are at their closest, one degree apart, on the evening of the 22nd.
Saturn is easily visible above the northern-western horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. By 10 pm local time it is reasonably high 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.
On the morning of Saturday July 20, at 7:27 am AEST, 6:57 am ACST and 5:27 an AWST, the space probe Cassini will look back to Earth and take a picture of our planet. Go out, look down and wave at Saturn (details here).
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.
Mars rises higher in the morning twilight. It forms a broad triangle with two red giant stars, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse, and almost forms a line with Betelgeuse and Rigel.
Mars and Jupiter start the week not far from each other and come closer during the week, being closest on the morning of Monday 22nd.
Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, just below Mars. It's still best to have a flat, unobstructed eastern horizon but seeing Jupiter gets easier by the day. During the week Jupiter rises higher and comes closer to Mars. The pair are closest on the morning of Monday 22nd.
Mercury rises higher the morning twilight this week. It's best with a flat, unobstructed eastern horizon.
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.
Labels: weekly sky