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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 9 to Thursday April 16

This is Global Astronomy Month. The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday April 12. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky and comes close to the Pleiades cluster. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and now visible in the evening. Mercury is lost to view.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday April 12, the Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 17th.

Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 (7:00 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky and is close to the Pleiades. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus heads towards the beautiful Pleiades cluster, it will be at its closest on the 11th.

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

Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (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 many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation once twilight is over . Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday April 4 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST.  Saturn is now easily visible above the horizon. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 10pm 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.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around 22:00, it is best for telescope observation from midnight into the morning hours.

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

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Comments:
Loved the lunar eclipse over Easter weekend- just beautiful. The moon was a lovely reddish colour during totality. It wasn't quite as deep a colour as previous eclipses due to the short duration. Still a breathtaking sight.
 
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