Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday July 16 to Thursday July 23
The New Moon is Thursday July 16.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
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 four hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight. Venus is a distinct crescent shape in even small telescopes.
Venus and the bright star Regulus are close, with Jupiter below making a shallow triangle in the sky. on the 18th and 19t the crescent Moon joins the trio.
On the 19th in daylight, Venus is occulted by the Moon as seen from north-eastern Australia. From Alice Spings Venus emerges from behind the Moon at 9:19 am ACST. This is very close to the horizon.
In Brisbane, Venus goes behind the Moon at 9:31 am AEST and emerges at 9:52 am AEST. Similar timings will occur for Rockhampton (9:12 am start, 9:57 am finish ), Townsville (8:52 am start, 9:54 am finish) and Cairns (8:53 am start, 9:53 am finish) and places in between.
The Sun is nearby, so only experienced observers should attempt this observation, making sure the Sun is obscured behind something big. Be VERY careful not to accidently view the Su though you telescope of binoculars, sever eye damage or blindness may result. Venus will be the brightest object near the Moon, but will only be visible in binoculars or a small telescope. Start watching about half an hour before hand to get set up and familiar with the sky.
Jupiter is easily seen in the early evening sky near Venus in the north-western sky. It is also near the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the Lion). Jupiter and Venus are close at the start of the week, and move further apart as the week goes on. (see Venus description above).
Jupiter is visible in the early evening, setting just before 8:00 pm. It is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over, and there is a narrow window of about 2 hours before it is too close to the horizon for telescopic viewing. 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 across the zenith, 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 near the zenith (with Saturn facing west). 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