Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Sky This Week - Thursday October 30 to Thursday November 6
The First Quarter Moon is Friday October 31. This is the second First Quarter Moon this month and thus a "blue" First Quarter Moon. The Moon is at Perigee, where it is closest to the Earth, on the 3rd of November.
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 Sagittarius and is close to the globular clusters M28 on November 3 and M22 on the 6th. This will look rather nice in binoculars.
Saturn is low in the early western evening sky, getting deeper in the twilight. This will be the last week to view the ringed planet in the evening this year.
Mercury returns to the morning sky, but is too low for easy visibility.
Venus is lost in the glare of the Sun.
Jupiter rises higher in the morning twilight, and now is easy to see above the horizon before twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. It is now not far from the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the Lion).
Comet C/2012 K1 Panstarrs is now visible in the evening sky from around 11 pm. It should be easily visible in 10x50 binoculars as a fuzzy dot. At magnitude 7 you will need to let your eyes adapt to darkness to see the comet clearly. It doesn't have any spectacular encounters, but will look nice amongst the stars. On the 2nd it is very close to the star beta Pictoris. As the week goes on the brightening Moon will make it more difficult to see.
More detailed charts and a printable binocular map are here.
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