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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 4 to Thursday August 11

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday August 11. Venus and Mercury rise higher in the early evening sky. The Moon is close to Venus on Thursday August the 4th, Mercury on August 5th and very close to Jupiter on the 6th. Mars and Saturn are visible all evening long. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mars is close to the bright star Dschubba on the 9th

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday August 11. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from Earth, on the 10th.

Evening sky on Saturday August 6 looking west at 45 minutes after sunset. Jupiter is above Venus and Mercury.  Jupiter and the crescent Moon are very close. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter and the Moon. Similar views will be seen throughout 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 8:30 pm when it will be a little too close to the horizon. Jupiter's Moons will be an still be excellent sight.

Venus and Mercury continue to rise above the twilight glow this week. They now should be sufficiently high in the dusk sky to see clearly. A little after half an hour after sunset, Venus, Mercury, the bright star Regulus and Jupiter make a nice line-up in the dusk sky.

This week the Moon climbs the three bright planets in the dusk. On Thursday 4 August Venus, Regulus and the crescent Moon are close in the dusk. Then on the 5th, the crescent Moon is just above Mercury. On the 6th the crescent Moon is less than half a Lunar diameter from Jupiter. This wil look excellent to the unaided eye, but will also be very nice in binoculars and low power eye-pieces of telescopes.

Evening sky on Tuesday August 9 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. Mars is very close to the bright star Dschubba. 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 continues to head back towards the head of the Scorpion this week. Mars forms a line with the star Dschubba in the head of the Scorpion and Antares.  Mars comes visibly closer to Dschubba this week and is closest on the 9th.

As well Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. Mars was at opposition on May 22,  and is visibly dimming, but is still a decent telescope object. It is visible all evening long. In even small telescopes Mars will be a visible disk, and you should see its markings.

 Saturn was at opposition on the 3rd of June. 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.

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.

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