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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 18 to Thursday May 25

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday May 19. Mars is low in the twilight. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening skies. Saturn is in the evening sky in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus climbs higher in the morning sky, with Mercury below it. The crescent Moon visits Venus on the 23rd, and Mercury on the 24th. Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson may be visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday May 19.

Evening sky on Saturday May 20 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:02 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, below Aldebaran.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies in Taurus It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight. You will need a clear, unobscured level horizon to see it though.

Evening sky on Saturday May 20 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 18:46 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at 20:15 ACST on the 24th, Ganymede has just come out of eclipse and Io is transiting the face of Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. that is 90 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the early evening this week. It is in between the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising as the sun sets and is visible all night long. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 8 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 18 May 0:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 18 May 18:49 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 18 May 20:40 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 20 May 2:27 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 20 May 22:18 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 21 May 0:43 Gan: Transit Begins               T
Sun 21 May 3:04 Gan: Transit Ends
Sun 21 May 18:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 22 May 23:39 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Mon 22 May 23:57 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 23 May 1:35 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Tue 23 May 1:55 Io : Transit Begins               STT
Tue 23 May 2:07 Eur: Transit Ends                 ST
Tue 23 May 2:51 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        SST
Tue 23 May 19:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 23 May 23:06 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Wed 24 May 2:16 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Wed 24 May 18:25 Eur: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 24 May 18:33 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 24 May 20:22 Io : Transit Begins               T
Wed 24 May 20:51 Gan: Reappears from Eclipse       T
Wed 24 May 21:19 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Wed 24 May 22:33 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Wed 24 May 22:44 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Wed 24 May 23:30 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Thu 25 May 1:35 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 25 May 17:33 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Thu 25 May 20:44 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 25 May 21:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian

Evening  sky on Saturday May 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is reasonably 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. (click to embiggen).

 Saturn is now visible in the evening skies this week. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 10 pm on. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula and makes a very nice sight in binoculars.Saturn is also very close by the dim star 58 Ophiuchi and will glide by it over the week.

Saturn is at opposition next month, but watching the rings over the coming weeks should see them brighten ahead of the planet,

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.

Morning sky on Tuesday May 23 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:36 ACST (90 minutes before sunrise). Mercury is prominent below it. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

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

Venus  climbs higher in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a waxing crescent.

Mercury is easily visible low to the horizon, it is within binocular distance of Uranus, and will make an interesting pairing.


The Moon will form a line with Venus and Mercury on the 22nd, the thin crescent Moon will be just below Venus on the 23rd and just above Mercury on the 24th.


Location of  comet C/2015 V2 (indicated by the circle) looking north as seen from Adelaide at midnight on the 20th. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia (and most of the southern hemisphere) at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen

Comet C/2015 V2 is in a good position to view at the moment, it is dimmer than predicted at around magnitude 8, while with good binoculars and under dark skies it should be visible as a fuzzy dot. The bright star Arcturus is readily visible and you can star hop from it down to the comet.

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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Comments:
Nice blog Ian.
As a member of the ASV, do you check out my monthly Australian Night Sky contributions to their website?
 
Hello Ian. I believe the moon and Uranus will be very close view. Are you able to photograph and post. Keep well. Steve from Perth.
 
G'Day Wayne, No I haven't been, but I will now
 
G'Day Steve, the Moon and Uranus are not particularly close this month, not really a photo op. Venus and Uranus are close next Month.
 
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