Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The Sky This Week - Thursday February 16 to Thursday February 23
The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday February 19. The Moon is at apogee (when it is furthest from the Earth) at this time.
Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).
Venus is high in the dusk sky and intensely bright. After being a feature of the evening sky for so long, it is now rapidly heading towards the horizon.
It can be seen easily from somewhat before half an hour after sunset to an hour after sunset. It is dazzlingly brilliant above the horizon in the late twilight. Venus has been mistaken for flares or landing aeroplanes it is so bright now.
Venus is in a very star poor field in Pisces and is a distinct crescent shape in telescopes.
Mars is in the western evening skies in Pisces. Mars remains in a star poor area.
Mars was at opposition on May 22, 2016 and is still visibly dimming. While still brighter than any of the nearby stars, it is much faded and not immediately obvious, It is no longer a modest telescope object. Mars is visible most of the evening setting before midnight. In small telescopes Mars will be a visible, but tiny, gibbous disk, however you are unlikely to see its markings.
Jupiter is rising just before midnight, but remains low to the horizon this week and is still better in the early morning. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 1 am, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEDST.
Thu 16 Feb 1:56 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Thu 16 Feb 3:28 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins S Thu 16 Feb 5:35 Eur: Transit Begins ST Thu 16 Feb 5:58 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends T Fri 17 Feb 1:45 Gan: Shadow Transit Begins S Fri 17 Feb 4:18 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends Fri 17 Feb 6:05 Gan: Transit Begins T Sat 18 Feb 3:02 Eur: Reappears from Occultation Sat 18 Feb 3:34 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Sat 18 Feb 23:25 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Sun 19 Feb 5:50 Io : Disappears into Eclipse Mon 20 Feb 3:11 Io : Shadow Transit Begins S Mon 20 Feb 4:10 Io : Transit Begins ST Mon 20 Feb 5:12 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Mon 20 Feb 5:23 Io : Shadow Transit Ends T Mon 20 Feb 6:20 Io : Transit Ends Tue 21 Feb 0:19 Io : Disappears into Eclipse Tue 21 Feb 1:03 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Tue 21 Feb 3:27 Io : Reappears from Occultation Tue 21 Feb 22:37 Io : Transit Begins ST Tue 21 Feb 23:52 Io : Shadow Transit Ends T Wed 22 Feb 0:47 Io : Transit Ends Wed 22 Feb 6:50 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Thu 23 Feb 2:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Thu 23 Feb 6:03 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins S Thu 23 Feb 22:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above eastern horizon to see easily. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses.
The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn. The crescent Moon is close to Saturn on Tuesday February 21.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
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