Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday April 2 to Thursday April 9
North-Eastern horizon as seen from Adelaide on 4 April at 10:24 pm ACDST. The total eclipse has just begun . Click to embiggen
The Full Moon is Saturday April 4, there is a total lunar eclipse at this time. The partial phase of the eclipse begins at 9:15 pm AEDST (8:45 pm ACDST and 6:15 pm AWST) with totality around one and a half to one and three quarter hours later. This is the last total eclipse seen from Australia until 2018. Full details for observing the eclipse are here, and hints on photographing the eclipse here.
Venus is easy to see low above the western horizon in the twilight. At civil twilight, half an hour after sunset, it is around one and a half hand-spans above the horizon. During the week Venus heads towards the beautiful Pleiades cluster, it will be at its closest next week..
Mars is low in the western twilight sky and is effectively lost to view.
Jupiter is now easily seen in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the northern sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars.
Jupiter was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for may weeks to come. Jupiter is visible all night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation from around 10 pm. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.
Saturn climbs still higher in the morning sky. It is now easily visible before midnight near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.
Saturn is readily visible from around 23:00, but is still best after midnight.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
This is Global Astronomy Month. See the Astronomers Without Borders site for a rundown of what's on.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition and Saturn rising. 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 AEDST. 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