Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday October 29 to Thursday November 5
The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday November 3.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Saturn is easily visible from twilight in 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 in its head, is very nice indeed. Saturn is close to the bright star Graffias (Beta1 Scorpius) at the start of the week. Over the next week it moves towards the double star nu Scorpii.
The addition of Saturn to the head of the Scorpion changes it quite a bit, giving it a distinct "hammer head".
While Saturn is readily visible from the end of twilight, there is only a narrow window for observation from around 8:30 until around 9:00 pm as it gets too close to the horizon. This is still a good time to scan Scorpius and Sagittarius with binoculars to reveal the clusters in and around the Scorpions tail, they will remain reasonably visible until around 11 pm, although the bright Moon will initially make seeing them difficult.
Jupiter rises higher in the morning skies and may require a flat unobstructed horizon to see it early in the week.
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 is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a distinct "half Moon" shape and impressive in a small telescope.
Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the bright stars Regulus and Procyon form a line in the sky. Venus starts the week close to Jupiter. Over the week Venus draws away from Jupiter and approaches Mars. Mars and Venus will be closest on the 3rd of November. They will be less than a finger width apart, and will fit in a low power telescope eyepiece. However, the brightness of Venus will make photographing the pair together in a Telescope difficult.
More details of the Planet Dance with charts and animation here.
NEO 2015 TB145 at midnight on 31 October 2015, it is just above the shield of Orion. Click to embiggen.
The so called "spooky" Near Earth Asteroid 2015 TB145 will come relatively close to Earth on all hallows eve, 31 October at around 1.3 Earth-Moon distances, ie it is further away from us than the Moon, so there is no chance it will hit us. Unfortunately Australia does not see it at its brightest, but amateurs with a decent telescope will be able to see it on the morning of the 31st.
More details here.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with 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 AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Labels: weekly sky