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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday September 19 to Thursday September 26

The Full Moon is Thursday September 19. Earth is at Equinox on the 23rd. Mars and Jupiter are prominent in the early morning. Venus is easily visible in the western evening sky and near Saturn. Mercury rises higher in the evening sky and is close to the bright star Spica on the 25th.

The Full Moon is Thursday September 19. Earth is at Equinox on the 23rd (for us in the Southern Hemisphere it's spring equinox).

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:45 pm local time on Wednesday September 25. Venus is quite high in the evening sky above Saturn.  Mercury is next to the bright star Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. 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 (indeed, with a little effort you can see it before sunset). The brightest (spectacularly so) object above the western horizon it is visible up to two hours or more after sunset (depending on how flat your western horizon is).

Venus leaves Saturn this week, heading towards Libra.

Mercury  is now readily visible in the evening twilight. Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky this week heading towards the bright star Spica. On the 25th they are at their closest.

Saturn is still easily visible above the western horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. Telescopic views of the ringed world are progressively harder as the planet gets lower in the sky and deeper in the twilight. Saturn sets around 9:00 pm local time.

Neptune is currently at opposition, and visible in strong binoculars. Location maps here which can be used in conjunction with the printable PDF maps below. My images with a little point and shoot camera here

Morning sky on Sunday September 22 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am local time in South Australia. Mars, Jupiter, and Procyon form a long triangle in the morning sky. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Procyon start the week forming a triangle in the morning twilight.  Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. Mars is passing through the constellation Cancer.

Mars rises  a little higher in the morning twilight, and is reasonably visible before the sky pales substantially.

Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, above and to the left of Mars. It is quite easy to see in the morning sky well into the twilight. During the week Jupiter rises higher and heads towards to moderately bright star Wassat. Jupiter's Moons are now readily visible in binoculars.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Venus and 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

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.


Hi Ian

What time in the AM is Jupiter visible for Adelaide?

Kerry-Jean - from the Aus government. Should be accurate as I don't think they think there's any need for it to be secret. :-)

Kerry-Jean, I should have also said "while it is dark" I saw it many weeks ago in the dawn so it has to be quite high at 4am now.
Kerry-Jean, from Adelaide it is visible shortly after 2am after it rises to around 5:30 when the sky becomes too light to see it (see Jupiter chart in the main post).
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