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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The Sky This Week - Thursday March 26 to Thursday April 2

The First Quarter Moon is Friday March 27. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Jupiter is visited by the Moon on the 30th. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and now visible in the evening. Mercury is lost to view.

The New Moon is Friday March 20. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on April 1st.

Evening sky on Saturday March 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 (8:00 pm) ACDST in South Australia.  Mars is low in the twilight, with Venus above it heading towards the Pleiades. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

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. On the 22nd the thin crescent Moon is below Venus, and then on the 23rd it is above Venus.

Mars  is low in the western twilight sky and is effectively lost to view.

Evening sky on Monday March 30 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time. Jupiter is the brightest object above the northern horizon. (click to embiggen).

 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.

On the 30th, The Moon is close to Jupiter. On April 1st from around 10:00 pm, Io's shadow traverses Jupiter's disk.

Evening sky on Saturday March 28 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACDST .  Saturn is now visible above the horizon. (click to embiggen).

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.
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.


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