Wednesday, April 08, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday April 9 to Thursday April 16
The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday April 12, the Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 17th.
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.
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.
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.
Labels: weekly sky