Monday, August 25, 2014
The Sky This Week - Thursday August 28 to Thursday September 4
The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday September 2.
Mars is easily seen in the western evening sky, setting just before 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 triangle with the broad double star Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) and Saturn. Over the week it draws away from Saturn, forming a larger triangle. The trio of Mars, Saturn and Alpha Librae are visited by the Moon on August the 31st and September 1.
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 just before 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 triangle with Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Mars. The trio of Mars, Saturn and Alpha Librae are visited by the Moon on August the 31st and September 1.
Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky and is now readily visible low above the western horizon, in the latter twilight. It becomes easier to see during the week.
Venus is in the morning sky, low above the north-eastern horizon. Despite its brightness, it is very difficult to see low in the twilight.
Venus is pulling away from Jupiter, although you will need a clear, level horizon to see Venus in the twilight glow.
This is the last week to see Venus before it disappears into the glare of the Sun.
Jupiter rises higher in the morning twilight, and now is fairly easy to see low above the horizon at twilight. During the week Jupiter climbs higher and becomes easier to see.
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.
Labels: weekly sky