Wednesday, September 03, 2014
The Sky This Week - Thursday September 4 to Thursday September 11
The Full Moon is Tuesday September 9. The Moon is at perigee (closest to the Earth) on the 8th.
Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky and is now readily visible low above the western horizon. It is now reasonably easy to see from half an hour after sunset to around and hour after sunset.
A line drawn from Mars through Spica to the horizon will intersect with Mercury, the brightest object low above the western horizon.
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 broad triangle with the double star Alpha Librae (also called Zubenelgenubi) and Saturn. Over the week it draws away from Saturn, forming a line with Antares, the bright red star in Scorpious.
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 aroun 11pm local time.
Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a a triangle with Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Mars. As the week progresses Saturn, Mars and Antares form a line.
Venus is lost in 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 as the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon.
Comet C/2013 V5 is brightening and may become visible to the unaided eye (just) later in the month. Now you need a small telescope to see it. Although it is magnitude 7 and should currently be visible in binoculars, its diffuse nature It is roughly between Procyon and Sirius.
Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring is rising higher the the evening sky, being highest around midnight. It is currently located just above the Small Magellanic Cloud. While at magnitude 8.4 it should be visible in binoculars, it is likely that you will need a small telescope to see it until the brightening Moon leaves the evening sky.
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