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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 23 to Thursday June 30

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday June 28. Jupiter is visible most of the evening. Mars and Saturn are visible all night long. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mercury and Venus are lost in the twilight. Comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS is visible in binoculars in the evening sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday June 28.

Evening sky on Saturday June 25 looking 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. Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target but s rapidly coming too close to the horizon.

Jupiter is in the north-western evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 18:00 on until around 10:00 pm when it will be a little too close to the horizon. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight all evening, on the 27th Io crosses Jupiter's face, and on the 28th Ganymede is occulted by Jupiter.

The early evening is also graced by the constellation of  Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, above the western horizon.

Evening sky on Saturday June 25 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. Comet C/2013 X1 is now visible in the evening, close to the tail of the Scorpion. 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 near the head of the Scorpion in Libra.

Mars comes to a stand still this week, before reversing direction. Mars forms a line with the star Dschubba in the head of the Scorpion 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.

Mars is also within half  finger-width from the magnitude 8.4 globular cluster NGC 5897. This is visible in binoculars only under dark sky conditions, but both Mars and the cluster will fit within a telescope eye-piece view and should be interesting together.

 Saturn was at opposition on the 3rd. 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. Saturn is 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.

Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) rises  around 5:00 pm local time, and is clear the of  horizon murk from around 10 pm.  It is currently around magnitude 6.2. From around the 23rd the Moon will no longer interfere with viewing it in the evening. The comet will be close to the tail of the Scorpion for much of this week.

Venus is lost in the twilight.


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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