Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday May 21 to Thursday May 28
The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday May 26. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 27th.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Mars is lost in the twilight.
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 draws closer to the stars Castor and Pollux, heading for a meeting with Jupiter later next month.
Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western 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, Venus and Pollux form a line in the sky. On the 24th the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter.
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, setting just before 11 pm, and is high enough for 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 9 pm 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 19:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 21:00 into the morning hours.
Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is climbing in the evening sky fading as it goes. It should be just below magnitude 6, but with the waxing Moon nearby it is best viewed with binoculars and telescopes. In binoculars and modest telescopes the comet will be a fuzzy blob, high power telescopes may show the thin tail seen in astrophotographs, although the Moon makes that unlikley.
The comet will move up through Canis Major towards Canis Minor this week. A spotters map suitable for printing in black and white is here.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the sky. 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