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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 20 to Thursday July 27

The New Moon is Sunday, July 23. Mercury rendezvous with Regulus and the thin crescent Moon on the 25th. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening sky. Saturn is visible all night in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus dominates the morning sky below the head of Taurus the Bull. The crescent Moon is below Venus on the 21st.

The New Moon is Sunday, July 23. The Moon is at Perigee, closest to the earth, on the 22nd.

Evening sky on Tuesday July 25 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:25 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Mercury is above the western horizon near Regulus and the thin crescent Moon.

Mercury climbs higher in the evening twilight sky. It is now readily visible above the western horizon half an hour after sunset, and is obvious at least 60 minutes after sunset. Mercury is climbing towards the bright star Regulus. On the 25th and 26th Mercury and Regulus will be less than a finger-width apart, on the 25t they are joined by the thin crescent Moon. 

Evening sky on Saturday July 22 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:55 ACST  (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter on Saturday July 22 at 18:55 ACST .

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

Jupiter is rising before sunset and is now high above the northern-western horizon in the early evening at full dark. 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 before the sun sets and is visible until just before midnight. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from astronomical twilight on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 20 Jul 17:53 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 20 Jul 19:19 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse 
Thu 20 Jul 21:17 Gan: Disappears into Occultation 
Tue 20 Jun 22:57 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Fri 21 Jul 23:40 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sat 22 Jul 19:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Mon 24 Jul 18:26 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends 
Mon 24 Jul 21:11 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Mon 24 Jul 21:37 Io : Disappears into Occultation 
Tue 25 Jul 18:49 Io : Transit Begins               T 
Tue 25 Jul 20:02 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST 
Tue 25 Jul 21:01 Io : Transit Ends                 S 
Tue 25 Jul 22:13 Io : Shadow Transit Ends 
Tue 25 Jul 22:39 Eur: Transit Begins               T 
Wed 26 Jul 19:32 Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
Wed 26 Jul 22:50 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 27 Jul 18:42 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 27 Jul 21:53 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse 
 

Evening sky on Saturday July 15 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 21:40 ACST, when Saturn is at its highest. Saturn is almost overhead high above the northern 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 was  at opposition on the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all night long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 9 pm on. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view.

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

Morning sky on Friday July 21 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:19 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling below the bright star Aldebaran and above  the crescent Moon. 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  is lowering in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a "Gibbous Moon". At the start of the Week Venus is below the head of  Tarus the Bull and  the bright star Aldebaran. The Crescent Moon is below Venus on the 21st forming a line with  Aldebaran .

 Mars 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/

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

 

Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (16-17 July)

The Australian Space Weather Service (SWS) has now  issued a Geomagnetic Alert an Aurora Watch for possible aurora for 16-17 July (UT) due to an impact from a coronal Mass Ejection. This is expected to arrive late in the UT day on the 16th (which is the morning of the 17th Australian time).

The Space Weather Prediction Service has predicted a G1-G2 storm on July 16 UT (with most of the action on the morning f the 17th, probably extending into the evening of the 18th AEST if we are lucky). If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania and Southern Victoria, weather permitting. The Moon is waning, and present in the early morning so will only modestly interfere with morning aurora. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is expected to be operational by the end of July 2017 .

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/34
ISSUED AT 0010UT/15 JULY 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Geomagnetic conditions may rise to minor storm levels late on
16 Jul. Geomagnetic activity is expected to remain enhanced to
active to minor storm levels with the possibility of major storm
periods on 17 Jul due to CME effects.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL MASS EJECTION
FROM 16-17 JULY 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
16 Jul:  Active to Minor Storm
17 Jul:  Active to Minor Storm, some major storm periods possible.
_____________________________________________________________

SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 0230 UT ON 15 Jul 2017 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A Coronal Mass Ejection(CME) is anticipated to impact the Earth late
in the UT day of 16 July (Monday morning AEST). Aurora sightings
possible for Southernmost Australian regions should the CME arrive
earlier than anticipated. Aurora alerts will follow if significant
geomagnetic activity actually occurs.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

 

Yet Another good Week for ISS passes, (12 July - 20 July)

The ISS passes below Jupiter, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Monday 17 July at 19:05 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Saturn, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Monday 17 July at 18:35 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Saturn, as seen from Perth on the evening of  Monday 17 July at 18:36 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Monday 17 July for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Monday 17 Julyy for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Monday 17 July for Perth.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting around eight days. Some are low to the horizon, some rapidly enter earth's shadow, but for many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either close to Jupiter, Saturn or a series of bright stars (except Darwin, which only gets three bright evening passes). For some passes there are also bright iridium flares close by (eg July 19 from Adelaide,check the prediction sites for details).
 
The ISS passes extremely close to the bright stars Canopus and Arcturus during some of these passes (check your local predictions)

Most of the major cites see the ISS pass close to either Saturn of Jupiter at the following days and times:
Adelaide 17th July 18:34 ACST (Saturn) 18:32 Canopus, 19th July Jupiter (18:26) Arcturus (18:27)
Brisbane 18th July 18:16 AEST (Saturn) 18:12 Canopus, 20th July Jupiter (18:07) Arcturus (18:08)
Sydney 16th July 18:22 AEST (Saturn) 18:19 Canopus, 18th July Jupiter (18:14) Arcturus (-)
Melbourne 16th July 18:21 AEST (Saturn) 18:18 Canopus, 17th July Jupiter (19:05) Arcturus (19:06)
Perth 17th July 18:36 AWST (Saturn) 18:30 Canopus, 19th July Jupiter (18:29) Arcturus (18:36)
Hobart 17th July 17:25 AEST (Saturn) 18:23 Canopus, 18th July Jupiter (18:12) Arcturus (18:13)
 
When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over a star or missing it completely.
 
Start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. Use the most recent prediction for your site.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday July 13 to Thursday July 20

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, July 17. Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening sky. Saturn is visible all night in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus dominates the morning sky between the Pleiades and the Hyades clusters and continues towards the bright star Aldebaran, forming a second "eye" for Taurus the Bull on the 13th. The crescent Moon is in the Hyades above Venus on the 20th. The ISS returns to evening skies.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, July 17.

Evening sky on Saturday July 15 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:22 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Mercury is above the western horizon climbing towards Regulus.

Mercury climbs higher in the evening twilight sky. It is now readily visible above the western horizon half an hour after sunset, and is obvious at lest 60 minutes after sunset.




Evening sky on Saturday July 15 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:52 ACST  (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter on Sunday July 16 at 22:23 ACST  as Io and its shadow transits Jupiter.

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

Jupiter is rising before sunset and is now high above the northern-western horizon in the early evening at full dark. 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 before the sun sets and is visible until just after midnight. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from astronomical twilight on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 13 Jul 19:46 Gan: Reappears from Occultation 
Thu 13 Jul 22:31 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse 
Fri 14 Jul 22:52 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sat 15 Jul 18:43 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sun 16 Jul 22:23 Io : Transit Begins               T 
Sun 16 Jul 23:39 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST 
Mon 17 Jul 19:40 Io : Disappears into Occultation 
Mon 17 Jul 20:22 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Mon 17 Jul 23:08 Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
Tue 18 Jul 18:07 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST 
Tue 18 Jul 19:05 Io : Transit Ends                 S 
Tue 18 Jul 19:58 Eur: Transit Begins               ST 
Tue 18 Jul 20:18 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T 
Tue 18 Jul 22:29 Eur: Transit Ends 
Tue 18 Jul 22:35 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S 
Wed 19 Jul 17:37 Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
Wed 19 Jul 22:01 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 20 Jul 17:53 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 20 Jul 19:19 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse 
Thu 20 Jul 21:17 Gan: Disappears into Occultation  
 

Evening sky on Saturday July 15 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST, when Saturn is at its highest. Saturn is almost overhead high above the northern 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 was  at opposition on the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all night long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 9 pm on. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view.

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

Morning sky on Thursday July 20 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:22 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling below the bright star Aldebaran and the crescent Moon. 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 "Gibbous Moon".  at the start of the Week Venus Forms a second eye for Tarus the Bull with the bright star Aldebaran. It then moves below Hildebrand. The Crescent Moon is near Aldebaran and above Venus on the 20th.

The evening sky facing East at 18:35 pm ACST on Monday 17 June as seen from Adelaide. Adelaide gets to see the ISS pass next to Saturn. This week sees a series of bright International space station passes in the evening visible from most parts of Australia. More details here. When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location.






 Mars 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/

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Friday, July 07, 2017

 

Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (8-9 July)

The Australian Space Weather Service (SWS) has now  issued a Geomagnetic Alert an Aurora Watch for possible aurora for 8-9 July (UT) due to solar wind from a coronal hole. This is expected to arrive late in the UT day on the 8th (which is the morning of the 9th Australian time). The Space Weather Prediction Service has Predicted a G1 storm on July 9 UT. If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania and Southern Victoria, weather permitting.

However, the Moon is nearly full, so will significantly interfere. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is expected to be operational by the end of July 2017 .

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/33
ISSUED AT 0057UT/07 JULY 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Expect an increase in geomagnetic activity late on UT day, 08
July due to influence of geoeffective coronal hole.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 08-09 JULY 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
08 Jul:  Quiet to Active isolated cases of Minor Storm levels at higher
latitudes
09 Jul:  Unsettled

_____________________________________________________________

SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 0130 UT ON 07 Jul 2017 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

Effects of a coronal hole are expected to impact the Earth within the
next 48 hours, possibly resulting in geomagnetic activity and visible
auroras during local nighttime hours at Tasmania latitudes. Aurora
alerts will follow if significant geomagnetic activity actually
occurs.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 6 to Thursday July 13

The Full Moon is Sunday, July 9. Mars is lost in the twilight. Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening sky. Saturn is visible all night in the heart of the Milky Way. The Moon is close to Saturn on the 7th. Venus dominates the morning sky between the Pleiades and the Hyades clusters and continues towards the bright star Aldebaran.

The Full Moon is Sunday, July 9.

Evening sky on Saturday July 8 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mercury is low above the western horizon.

Mercury climbs higher in the evening twilight sky. It is now readily visible above the western horizon half an hour after sunset, and is obvious at last 45 minutes after sunset if you have a reasonably level unobstructed horizon.




Evening sky on Saturday July 8 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 18:05 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 on Sunday July 9 at 21:42 ACST  as Io and its shadow transits Jupiter and europa is just about to be occulted..

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising before sunset and is now high above the northern horizon in the early evening ju     before full dark. 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 before the sun sets and is visible until jussssst . Jupiter is a good telescopic target from astronomical twilight on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 6 Jul 18:31 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse 
Thu 6 Jul 20:43 Gan: Reappears from Eclipse 
Fri 7 Jul 22:03 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sat 8 Jul 17:55 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sat 8 Jul 23:15 Io : Disappears into Occultation 
Sun 9 Jul 20:28 Io : Transit Begins               T 
Sun 9 Jul 21:44 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST 
Sun 9 Jul 22:31 Eur: Disappears into Occultation  ST 
Sun 9 Jul 22:40 Io : Transit Ends                 S 
Sun 9 Jul 23:42 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Sun 9 Jul 23:55 Io : Shadow Transit Ends 
Mon 10 Jul 17:44 Io : Disappears into Occultation 
Mon 10 Jul 19:34 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Mon 10 Jul 21:13 Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
Tue 11 Jul 18:23 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T 
Tue 11 Jul 19:49 Eur: Transit Ends 
Tue 11 Jul 19:57 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S 
Tue 11 Jul 22:21 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends 
Wed 12 Jul 21:13 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian 
Thu 13 Jul 19:46 Gan: Reappears from Occultation 
Thu 13 Jul 22:31 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse  
 

Evening sky on Friday July 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 18:44 ACST, an hour and a half after sunset. Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon and the waxing Moon is just below Saturn.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time, an hour and a half after sunset. (click to embiggen).

Saturn was  at opposition on the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all night long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 9 pm on. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view. On the 7th the waxing Moon is just below Saturn.

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 Saturday July 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:24 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling and moves towards the bright star Aldebaran during the week, Passing between the Pleiads and Hyades clusters. 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 "half-Moon".  During the Week Venus moves towards the bright star Aldebaran passing between the Pleiades and Hyades clusters.

 Mars 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/

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Saturday, July 01, 2017

 

The ISS pass on June 30, 2017

The ISS passing just above Canopus on 30 June, 2017. The ISS was around magnitude -2.4. Stack of 9 images in Deep Sky Stacker (one frames was dropped buring stacking, 5 second exposures 400 ASA with an ageing Canon IXUS)Animation of all 10 images

I missed the more spectacular June 29 pass due to clouds and rain. Still a very nice pass through a nice piece of sky. It looks clear for tonight, which will be a bright Pass just below the Southern Cross, and hopefully Monday, where the ISS will almost pas on top of Sirius then just below Canopus.

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