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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 2 to Thursday June 9

The New Moon is Sunday June 5. Jupiter is visible all evening long. Mars is visible all night long. Saturn is at opposition. It is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mercury climbs higher the morning sky and is close to the crescent Moon on the 3rd. Venus is lost in the twilight. Comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS is visible in binoculars in the morning sky.

The New Moon is Sunday June 5. The Moon is at perigee, where it is closest to the Earth, on June 3.

Evening sky on Saturday June 4 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at 20:00 ACST. 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 is in the northern evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 18:00 on until around 11 pm when it will be a little too close to the horizon. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight all evening. On the 4th Io crosses Jupiter's face around 20:30, then its shadow follows from around 21:30.

The evening is also graced by the constellations of  Orion the Hunter (which is right on the western horizon when the sky is fully dark) and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star above the western horizon in the early evening.

Evening sky on Friday June looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. The inset shows telescopic views of Mars and Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the evening skies in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars spends the week in the head in front of the star Dschubba and forming a line with Dschubba and Anatres.  As well Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. Mars was at opposition on May 22, but Mars will still  be big and bright for this week. It is visible all night long. In even small telescopes Mars will be a visible disk, and you should see its markings.

 Saturn is at opposition on the 3rd, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, however, Saturn's change in size and brightness is nowhere near as spectacular as Mars's, and Saturn will be a reasonable telescopic object for many weeks. reasonably high in the evening sky and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. It is now high enough for good telescopic observation in the evening. In even small telescopes its distinctive rings are obvious.

Venus is lost in the twilight.

Morning sky at 6:00 ACST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Friday June 3.Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mercury climbs higher in the morning sky, and is at its higest on the 5th. On the 3rd the crescent Moon is close to Mercury.

Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) is now high enough above the horizon murk in the morning sky to be readily visible before twilight. It is currently around magnitude 6.4. A guide to seeing it is here.

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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