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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 28 to Thursday May 5

The "Blue"  Last Quarter Moon is Saturday April 30. Jupiter is visible all evening 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. Start of Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

The  Last Quarter Moon is Saturday April 30. This is a "Blue" Last Quarter Moon, the second Last Quarter Moon this month.

Evening sky on Thursday April 28 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at 23:00 ACST 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 28th 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 Saturday April 30 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. 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.

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.

Early morning sky on  Thursday May 5 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.



Morning sky on Thursday May 5 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:00 am ACST.  The radiant of the eta Aquariid meteor shower is shown.   Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

The eta Aquariids meteor shower, the debris from Halleys comet, will peak on May 6 UT . However, good rates (compared to the peak) will be seen from Australia on the morning of the 5th at around one every five minutes, although the best rates are the 7th and 8th with around one meteor every 3 minutes.

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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