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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday October 1 to Thursday October 8

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday October 5. Mercury is lost in the twilight. Saturn is near the head of the Scorpion. Comet C/2013 US10 may be visible in binoculars. The mornings of the next few weeks will be full of interesting planetary action. This weekh the planets form a line in the sky and are visited by the Moon.  Venus is easily visible in the morning twilight with Mars below it and Jupiter below Mars.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday October 5. Daylight Savings starts October 4 (except QLD, NT and WA).

Evening sky on Saturday October 3 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible  above the western horizon  near the head of the Scorpion . Comet C/2013 US10 is visible in telescopes (and possibly binoculars). 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).



Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Saturn is 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 back to front "question mark" constellation of the Scorpion 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 19:00 until around 11 pm. This is also a good time to scan Scorpius and Sagittarius with binoculars to reveal the clusters in and around the Scorpions tail.

Comet C/2013 US10 is nearly midway between the Pointers and the head of the Scorpion, near a brightish triangle of stars in Lupus. It is brightening very slowly, and looks to be around a magnitude dimmer than predicted. Now the Moon is rising later it should be easier to see in binoculars. A black and white spotters map is here.

Early morning sky on Thursday October 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 ACDST showing the crescent Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, forming a line with Procyon.  The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter  rises higher in the morning skies, but remains close to the horizon and may require a flat unobstructed horizon  to see it. 

Mars remains low the morning skies this week.  While it is climbing into darker skies it may still require a reasonably unobstructed horizon to see effectively.

Venus climbs higher in the morning twilight and is now easy to see. It is a  distinct waxing crescent and impressive in a small telescope. Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Procyon form a line in the sky. This line is joined by the Moon on the 8th, a prelude to the occultation of Venus on the 9th.

Over the next couple of weeks the sight will improve further, with Venus, Jupiter and Mars coming close together.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Mercury 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.

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