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Wednesday, June 24, 2015


The Sky This Week - Thursday June 25 to Thursday July 2

The Full Moon is Thursday July 2. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky with bright Jupiter close by. The pair are closest on July 1. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is easily visible in the evening. The Moon is close to Saturn on June 28. Mercury is below the bright star Aldebaran.

The Full Moon is Thursday July 2.

Early morning sky on Saturday June 28 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 ACST showing Mercury below the Hyades and the bright star Aldebaran. The pair are just  above the horizon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time.  (click to embiggen).

Mercury is at its highest in  the morning skies this week on the  25th, after this it sinks back towards the horizon, but is still readily visible most of this week.

Early evening sky on Wednesday July 1 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 ACST showing Venus and  Jupiter lose together.

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.

Telescopic view of Jupiter and Venus on 1 July, simulated for a 6" Newtonian with a 10 mm eyepiece. (click to embiggen)

At the start of the week Venus, Jupiter and the star Regulus in Leo form a line. Venus continues to draws closer to Jupiter during the week, being spectacularly closer on the 30th June to 2 July, when they can be covered with an outstretched finger and will fit comfortably in a low power telescope field. They are closest on July 1, when the pair are less than a finger width apart.

On the 1st, they will fit in a medium power telescope field, where the crescent Venus and banded Jupiter will be obvious.

 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.

Evening sky on Saturday June 20 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible above the horizon near the head of the Scorpion. The Moon is near Saturn at this time. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

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.

The waxing Moon is near Saturn on the 28th and 29th. 

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


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