Wednesday, April 06, 2016
The Sky This Week - Thursday April 7 to Thursday April 14
The New Moon is Thursday April 7 and the First Quarter Moon is Thursday April 14. The Moon is at perigee, closest to the Earth, on the 8th.
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.
April 12-13 sees an unusual, but telescope only, occultation of a 7th magnitude star by Jupiter. Jupiter passes in front of the dim star HIP 54057 on the morning of April 13 (Eastern and Central states) and evening of the 12th (WA). HIP 54057 is a dim star visible in telescopes (magnitude 7). The occultation will be seen from Eastern Australia at 00:30 am, Central Australia at 00:15 am and in Western Australia at 22:30 pm. The occultation ends after Jupiter has set in the eastern states, at 3:00 am in the central states and 1:30 am on the 13th in Western Australia.
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 western horizon at the beginning of evening.
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 a triangle of stars formed by Grafias, the double star omega Scorpii and nu Scoprii. It then moves further down the body of the Scorpion. Mars also 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.
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/
Labels: weekly sky