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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 21 to Thursday April 28

The  Full Moon is Friday April 22 and is the smallest Full Moon this year. Jupiter is visible all night long . Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mars is in retrograde motion and is visited by the Moon on the 24th. ANtares, Saturn and Mars are close to the Moon on the 25th.

The  Full Moon is Friday April 22. The Moon is at apogee on the 22nd, and this is the smallest Full Moon this year (a Mini-Moon).

Evening sky on Thursday April 21 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. On the 21st Ganymede transits Jupiter and Europa appears from eclipse.

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) just above the western horizon at the beginning of evening. Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star are above it and set early in the evening.

Evening sky on Monday April 25 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle with the Moon nearby. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below the bright red star Antares in Scorpio. Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. On the 24th and 25t the waxing Moon is near Mars.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. On the 25th the Moon joins Mars, Saturn and Antares.

Early morning sky on  Sunday April 24 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACST showing Venus low in the twilight.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

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/

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