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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 20 to Thursday February 27

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday February 23. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky, visible all evening. Mars is prominent in the early morning but now enters the evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the morning sky. There is a daytime occultation of Saturn on the morning of Saturday February 22. Venus is  bright in the morning sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday February 23.

Evening sky on Saturday February 22 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 pm ACDST in South Australia. Jupiter is above the northern horizon. The inset shows Jupiters Moons at 22:18 pm when Europa is just coming out of eclipse. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. It is the brightest object in the evening sky. Jupiter was at opposition on the 6th of January, when it was brightest and closest to Earth, but will remain bright and easily observable in telescopes for several months.

Jupiter rises around 17:00 pm local daylight saving time, and is highest just before 10:00 pm local daylight saving time. It is high enough to begin observing telescopically in the early to mid evening.

In the early evening it is above the northern horizon near the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini. Jupiter is quite easy to see as the brightest object in the entire sky.  Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars. On Saturday evening Europa exits from eclipse at 23:27 AEDST, 22:18 ACDST and 20:27 AWST.

Mars rises just before midnight, but is still best seen when high in the morning sky, and is visible well before twilight. Mars is is in the constellation of Virgo near the bright star Spica.


Morning sky on Saturday February 22 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am ACDST in South Australia. Saturn is near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion. The Moon is very close to Saturn, and there will be a daytime occultation in the late morning (see this link for detailed times).  Crescent Venus is well above the horizon. The inset show the telescopic views at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Venus is in the morning sky, above the eastern horizon.  The brightest object in the morning sky, it is now easy to see in the morning twilight, and although it is past maximum brightness, it will dominate the morning sky fro some months to come.  Venus rises progressively higher during the week, and is a distinct crescent shape.

 Saturn is visible above the eastern horizon before dawn. Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion.  It is  high enough in the early morning for decent telescopic observation. 


morning sky, 8:10 am
Morning sky looking north as seen from Adelaide at 9:10 am ACDST  on Saturday February 22. The Moon is about to occult Saturn.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time.  Click to embiggen.

On the morning of Saturday 22 February the Moon passes in front of Saturn during the late morning. For detailed times of the occultation and viewing hints, see this page.

 Mercury  is lost in the twilight.

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

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