Tuesday, November 05, 2013
The Sky This Week - Thursday November 7 to Thursday November 14
The First Quarter Moon is Sunday November 10.
Venus slowly falls back in the evening twilight. It can easily be seen shortly 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 three hours or more after sunset (depending on how flat your western horizon is) when the sky is fully dark. Venus was ta greatest elongation from the Sun on the 1st, and now will begin to sink to the horizon.
Venus is in the Constellation of Sagittarius. It is a distinct half moon shape in even small telescopes. This week Venus crosses the star clouds of Sagittarius. On November 11 Venus and the bright star Kaus Borealis are less than 2 finger-widths apart. The dim globular cluster M28 is close as well.
On November 11 Venus and the bright globular cluster M22 are within binocular distance of each other.
On the 7th the crescent Moon is not far from Venus, and there is a bright pass of the the International Space Station close to Venus.
There are several bright passes of the ISS this week, with a few bright passes close to Venus as well (see here for details of ISS passes).
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Saturn is lost in the twilight.
Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. Mars is is in the constellation of Leo.
Mars rises still higher in the morning twilight, and is visible well before twilight. Mars starts the week not far from the bright star Regulus and continues to draw away during the week. Mars is also not far from comet C/2012 S1 ISON.
Jupiter is now well above the northern horizon near the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini. It is quite easy to see in the morning sky well into the twilight. Jupiter's Moons are now readily visible in binoculars.
There is a series of interesting Moon events on the 8th, at 4:04 ACDST (4:34 AEDST) a shadow transit of Io starts, then a 5:14 the transit proper begins. At 5:32 Europa is eclipsed, then twilight intervenes before the transit ends. There is aslo a good transit of Europa with the Great Red Spot on Sunday November 10 starting at 2:39 ACDST (3:09 AEDST)
Comet C/2012 S1 ISON is continuing to brighten.
Currently it is visible in modest amateur instruments such as 8" reflecting telescopes. European observers have seen it with 10x50 binoculars from Dark sky sites, and there is one report from Brisbane of a binocular sighting with 9x60's.
The comet moves through Virgo, passing close to bright stars that can help locate it.
The comet approaches the bright star Zanijava, Beta (β) Virginis and is closest on the 7th and 8th of November. The comet should, all things going well, be easily visible in binoculars now. By the 11th it is Just above Zaniah (eta Virginis) and by the 13th it is above the bright star Porrima.
The image above shows a high power view of the region around Zanijava with ISON (expanded from the unaided eye view shown with Jupiter above) on November 8th at Nautical twilight. ISON is close to Zanijava at this time.
The comet most recently been reported somewhere around magnitude 8.0-9.0.
You can get a PDF map suitable for printing here.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Venus 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 AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Labels: weekly sky