Tuesday, March 01, 2016
The Sky This Week - Thursday March 3 to Thursday March 10
The New Moon is Wednesday March 9, there is a partial solar eclipse as seen from Australia at this time. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 10th.
The Partial Eclipse as seen from Darwin near maximum eclipse, 10:17 am AEST on March 9. Simulated in Stellarium. The inset shows the appearance of the Sun as seen with safe solar viewing techniques. (click to embiggen)
On the morning of March 9, there will be a Solar eclipse. From Australia though, we only get to see a partial eclipse, and then only from northern Australia. Viewers will see between 50% (Darwin) - 1% (Perth) of the Sun covered by the Moon, with northern Australia favoured (the opposite of last years annular eclipse). The partial solar eclipse occurs in the morning, but the sun will have well and truly risen by the time of the eclipse.
For more detail and timings for several cities see this page.
Jupiter is at opposition on the 8th, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many week to come.
Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is good for telescopic observation from around 22:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. On March 4 Io and Europa and their shadows cross the face of Jupiter from around 10 pm to 11:30 pm.
The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby), Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, above the northern horizon at the beginning of evening.
Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening at midnight. Mars is coming closer to the head of the Scorpion.
Venus is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope. Venus is above Mercury, which is rapidly heading towards the horizon. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 7th and on the 8th the thin crescent Moon forms a triangle with Venus and Mercury.
Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares.
Mercury is low in the morning twilight. Mercury and Venus are drawing apart as Mercury heads towards the horizon. On the 8th the thin crescent Moon forms a triangle with Venus and Mercury.
This week all five of the bright planets are visible in the morning sky.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. 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