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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

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

The New Moon is Tuesday March 28. Mercury is very low in the twilight glow and is visited by the Moon on the 29th. Mars is low in the twilight and is visited by the Moon on the 30th. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are close in the late evening skies. Saturn is high in the morning sky.

The New Moon is Tuesday March 28.The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 30th.



Evening sky on Wednesday March 29 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:45 ACDST (35 minutes after sunset). Mercury is low above the horizon and close to the thin crescent Moon.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 35 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus  is now lost in the twilight.



Mercury returns to the evening twilight, but is difficult to see. On the 29t the tine crescent Moon is close to Mercury, but you will need a clear, unobscured level horizon (like the ocean) to see it.

Evening sky on Thursday March 30 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:08 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, not far from the thin crescent Moon.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies in  Pisces. It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight.

Evening sky on Friday March 24 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:50 ACDST.  Jupiter is now well above the horizon close to the bright star Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time with Ganymede and its shadow transiting Jupiter's face, and Io reappearing from occultation. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising well before midnight and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the evening this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo.

Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 11 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEDST.


Thu 23 Mar 2:21 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 23 Mar 4:56 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 23 Mar 5:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 23 Mar 23:42 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 24 Mar 0:04 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Fri 24 Mar 1:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 24 Mar 1:53 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Fri 24 Mar 2:14 Io : Transit Ends
Fri 24 Mar 20:50 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Fri 24 Mar 21:23 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 24 Mar 21:35 Gan: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 24 Mar 23:12 Gan: Transit Begins               ST
Fri 24 Mar 23:22 Io : Reappears from Occultation   ST
Sat 25 Mar 0:02 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 25 Mar 1:09 Gan: Transit Ends
Sat 25 Mar 7:19 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 25 Mar 20:22 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 25 Mar 20:40 Io : Transit Ends
Sun 26 Mar 3:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 26 Mar 23:01 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 27 Mar 5:41 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Mon 27 Mar 6:20 Eur: Transit Begins               ST
Tue 28 Mar 4:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 29 Mar 0:39 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 29 Mar 0:46 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 29 Mar 3:39 Eur: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 29 Mar 7:07 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Wed 29 Mar 7:22 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Wed 29 Mar 20:30 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 4:15 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 30 Mar 6:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 6:40 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 30 Mar 21:28 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Thu 30 Mar 21:49 Eur: Transit Ends

Morning  sky on Saturday March 25 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:58 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Saturn is high above the horizon.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise). (click to embiggen).

 Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above north-eastern horizon to see easily and is now a good telescopic target. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula. With the Moon waning this is now an attractive view again..

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.


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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