Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday June 18 to Thursday June 25
The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday June 24. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 24th. Earth is at solstice on the 22nd, when the daylight hours are shortest.
Mercury climbs higher in the morning skies this week, on the 23rd to 25th it is close to the bright star Aldebaran, making an interesting pattern in the Hyades cluster.
Insets show the telescopic views of Venus and Jupiter at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).
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. Venus is a distinct "half Moon" shape in even small telescopes.
At the start of the week Venus, Jupiter and the star Regulus in Leo form a line. Venus draws closer to Jupiter during the week, heading for a a very close meeting at the end of the month.
On the 20th, Venus Jupiter and the crescent Moon form an attractive triangle, with Regulus above. On the 21st the crescent Moon is almots in line between Jupier and Regulus, on the 22nd Venus, Jupiter, Regulus and the waxing Moon form a long line in the sky.
Jupiter is easily seen in the early evening sky near Venus in 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 and Venus are coming closer (see venus description above).
Jupiter is visible in the early evening, setting just after 9 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 from 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 close to its head, is very nice indeed.
While Saturn is readily visible from the end of twilight, it is best for telescope observation from around 20:00 into the early morning hours. At 22:00 it is at it's highest above the northern horizon. This is also a good time to scan Scorpius and Sagittarius with binoculars to reveal the clusters in and around the Scorpions tail.
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