Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The Sky This Week - Thursday August 21 to Thursday August 28
The New Moon is Tuesday August 26. The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth), on the 24th.
Mars is easily seen in the western evening sky, setting around midnight. Mars was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest, on the 9th of April, and is still readily distinguishable as the bright red/orange object above the western horizon in the early evening.
Mars is in the constellation of Libra. It begins the week forming a shallow triangle with the broad double star Alpha Librae and Saturn. Over the week it draws towards Saturn, and is at its closest between the 25th and the 27th. Mars and Saturn form a triangle with Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) at this time.
Saturn is in the early western evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the evening. Saturn is high enough from twilight for decent telescopic observation for a few hours and sets around midnight.
Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a shallow triangle with the two brightest stars of Libra. It also forms a shallow triangle with Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Mars. By the 25th to the 27th. Mars and Saturn will be at their closest.
Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky while it is low above the western horizon, it beomes easier to see during the week.
On August 27 the thin crescent Moon visits Mercury
Venus is in the morning sky, above the north-eastern horizon. Despite its brightness, it is now difficult to see low in the twilight.
Venus is still close to Jupiter, although you will need a clear, level horizon to see them in the twilight glow.
During the week Venus pulls away from Jupiter as Jupiter rises in the sky and Venus sinks closer to the horizon.
On the 23rd the crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter form a line. Although low in the twilight, if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them (and at least the Moon and Jupiter early on).
On the 24rd the thin crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter form a triangle. The thin Moon will be quite difficult to see low in the twilight, but again if you have a flat horizon (like the ocean or dessert), you should be able to see them. You may need binoculars to see all three in the twilight. Northern Australia has better views than southern Australia.
Jupiter it rises higher in the morning twilight, but will difficult to see without a clear level horizon. During the week Jupiter pulls away from Venus. On the 23rd and 24th the crescent Moon lines up with Jupiter and Venus (see details above).
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mars and Saturn prominent in the early evening 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.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Labels: weekly sky