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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 11 to Thursday January 18

The New Moon is  Wednesday, January 17. The variable star Mira is now bright enough to see easily. Mars and bright Jupiter are close together. On January 12 the crescent Moon forms a triangle with the pair. Mercury and Saturn climb higher in the morning sky and are closest on the 13th, the thin crescent Moon joins the pair on the 15th

The New Moon is  Wednesday, January 17. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 15th.

Morning sky on Friday January 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:11 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter and Mars form a triangle with the crescent Moon. Mercury and Saturn as visible close to the horizon.


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

Morning sky on Saturday January 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:11 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is close to Mars.  The crescent Moon is near Antares.

Mercury and Saturn and Saturn are at their closest.



The inset shows a simulation of the field of view of  a 24 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope bracketing Saturn and Mercury.

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

Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs still  higher in the morning sky and is moving away from Mars after their spectacular conjunction last week. The pair are still visible together in binoculars for the rest of the week.

On January 12 Mars and Jupiter are visited but the crescent Moon, forming a nice triangle in the sky.

 Mars is moving away from Jupiter after their spectacular conjunction last week. The pair are still visible together in binoculars for the rest of the week.

Mercury is dropping back towards the horizon this week and has a close encounter with Saturn on the  13th  in  the twilight. On the 15th the pair are joined by the thin crescent Moon,

Saturn climbs out of  the twilight, climbing towards Mercury. The pair will are at their closest on the 13th, when they will fit together in low power telescope eyepieces. Being so close to the horizon this will be a viewing challenge. For most of the week they will be visible together in binoculars. Although the planetary pair are close to the triffid and lagoon nebulae, the closeness to the horizon and the approaching dawn means it will be difficult of see these nebulae.


Evening sky on Saturday January 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is now near peak brightness, and is easily visible to the unaided eye, even in Moonlight.  The circle marks the location of Mira in the rambling constellation of Cetus. The Arrow shaped head of  Taurus the bull points almost directly at Mira. This is a good time to see this iconic variable star

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

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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