Wednesday, October 07, 2015
The Sky This Week - Thursday October 8 to Thursday October 15
The New Moon is Tuesday October 12. The Moon is at apogee (when it is furthest from the Earth) n the 11th.
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 and down from the Pointers and the head of the Scorpion. It is heading towards the horizon, so the window for observation is quite short. It is brightening very slowly, and looks to be around a magnitude dimmer than predicted (hovering somewhere around magnitude 7). It should be reasonably easy to see in good binoculars. A black and white spotters map is here.
the table here for timings from several representative cities. (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.
On the 10th the thin crescent Moon forms a triangle with Mars and Jupiter. During the rest of the week Mars and Jupiter come closer together, a prelude to their closest approach on the 18th.
Venus climbs higher in the morning twilight and is now easy to see. It is a distinct "half Moon" shape and impressive in a small telescope. Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Procyon form a line in the sky. Venus is also close to the bright star Regulus on the 9th.
On the 9th there is an occultation of Venus with the eastern states having the best views, and WA missing out completely. The occultation starts with the "half Moon" Venus slipping behind the crescent Moon when the pair are low above the horizon. The occulation ends with Venus slipping out from behind the dark side of the Moon in the late twilight (central states) or just after sunrise (eastern states). This is also an excellent opportunity to see Venus in the daytime, using the Moon as your guide.
After the occultation. over the next couple of weeks there will be a morning planet dance, with Venus, Jupiter and Mars coming close together.
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 AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Labels: weekly sky