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Tuesday, March 03, 2015


The Sky This Week - Thursday March 5 to Thursday March 12

The Full  Moon is Friday March 6. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the late evening sky. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is visited by the waning Moon on March 12. Mercury is prominent in the morning sky .

The Full  Moon is Friday March 6.  The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth) on March 5.

Evening sky on Saturday March 7 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:30 (8:30 pm) ACDST in South Australia.  Mars is low in the twilight, with Venus above it. 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. Venus is also just above Mars. As the week goes on the pair separate.

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

Evening sky on Saturday March 7 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at 22:00 on the 21st. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-eastern 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. It is not far from the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion). It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, but you will have to wait until the end of the week when the Moon is out of the way to see them at their best.

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, although its visibility will improve in the coming weeks. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

On the 9th Io and it's shadow cross the face of Jupiter around 10:00 pm ACDST.

Morning sky on Thursday March 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 1:00 am ACDST .  Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon and close to the waning Moon. (click to embiggen).

Saturn climbs still higher in the morning sky. It is now easily visible well before twilight 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 now rising a little before midnight, but it will be later in the month before we get a good look at it in the evening.

Mercury is at its highest in the morning twilight and should be reasonably easy to see over a hand-span above the horizon an hour before sunrise. It is currently in the constellation of Capricornius.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition. 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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