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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 25 to Thursday June 1

The New Moon is Friday May 26, the First Quarter Moon is Thursday June 1. 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.  Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson may be visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

The New Moon is Friday May 26, and is at perigee, when it is closest to Earth. The First Quarter Moon is Thursday June 1.

Evening sky on Saturday May 27 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 17:57 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon.

 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 27 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 20:47 ACST (when Jupiter is highest in the sky).  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 this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (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 7 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


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
Fri 26 May 17:18 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 26 May 17:20 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          S
Fri 26 May 17:59 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Sat 27 May 23:05 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 28 May 18:56 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 30 May 0:43 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 30 May 2:04 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Tue 30 May 20:35 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 31 May 18:11 Gan: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 31 May 20:37 Gan: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 31 May 20:48 Eur: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 31 May 22:11 Io : Transit Begins               T
Wed 31 May 22:33 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse      T
Wed 31 May 23:14 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Thu  1 Jun 00:22   Io : Transit Ends                 S
Thu  1 Jun 00:50   Gan: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Thu  1 Jun 1:18   Eur: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Thu  1 Jun 01:25   Io : Shadow Transit Ends          
Thu  1 Jun 02:22   GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu  1 Jun 19:23   Io : Disappears into Occultation  
Thu  1 Jun 22:13   GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu  1 Jun 22:39   Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
 
Evening  sky on Saturday May 27 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 not far from the dim star 58 Ophiuchi and will leave it behind 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 6:13 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling and 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.

Location of  comet C/2015 V2 (indicated by the circle) looking north as seen from Adelaide at 11 pm on the 27th. 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. For more details off how to view the comet see here.

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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