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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 21 to Thursday June 28

The Full Moon is Thursday, June 28.  All 5 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky. Mercury climbs higher in evening skies and is close to the bright star Pollux. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Jupiter is close to the Moon on the 23rd and 24th. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. Saturn is at Opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 27th. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 27th and 28th. Asteroid Vesta  is  potentially visible to the unaided eye.

The Full Moon is Thursday, June 28. Earth is at Solstice on the 21st, when the daylight hours are at  their shortest.

Evening twilight sky on Sunday June 23 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Venus is above Mercury and the star Pollux in Gemini. The inset shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus and Mercury as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece (compare with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars which are at the same scale).

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

Venus is now visible in the early evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from sunset, easy to see 30-60 minutes after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus heads away from the iconic Beehive cluster in Cancer and towards the bright star Regulus. Mercury is visible below Venus close to the bright star Pollux in Gemini.

Evening sky on Sunday June 24 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:41 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae. Saturn is rising.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece at 00:19 ACST, on the 25th with Europa passing across the face of Jupiter. Europa's shadow follows around an hour later.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia 90 minutes after sunset (click to embiggen).


Evening sky on Tursday June 28 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is clearly visible. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars (and may be visible to the unaided eye) near Saturn. The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Mars and Saturn and its moons as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.


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


Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open clusters M24, M23 and Vesta on Sunday June 24 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.

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


Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is above the open cluster M23 just over from the iconic and easily recognisable Trifid nebula. It is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms nearly a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time and is just over from the Trifid Nebula.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and easy to see 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is two and a half hand-spans above the horizon. Venus starts the week close to the iconic open cluster the Beehive. This is best viewed in binoculars, and the brightness of Venus will make it hard to see the beehive with the unaided eye.Over the week Venus leaves the Beehive behind and heads towards the bright star Regulus.

Mercury climbs higher the evening skies late this week. On the 24th to 26th it is visible close to Pollux and below Venus. The view is best if you have a flat, unobscured horizon.

Jupiter  is rising in the early evening. It was at Opposition on the 9th, and is still visible most of the night. It is  a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening and is highest around 20:50 local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is still within a finger-width of  the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and is visited by the Moon on the 23rd and 24th.

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the late evening, although best telescopically in the morning. Mars is brightening ahead of opposition later this year and is now quite bright (although it will get brighter still) and readily recognisable in the late evening. In a telescope you may see few features as a huge dust storm is sweeping the planet.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, and is now a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It is at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 27th. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces.

Vesta is now bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It was at opposition on the 20th, when it was magnitude 5.3, and this week should be around magnitude 5.4 and could possibly be visible from suburban sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling near the open cluster M23. It is brighter than most of the starsnearby, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta forms a straight line with Saturn and Polis (Mu Sagittarii) at this time and is not far from the iconic Trifid nebula. Printable spotters charts are here.

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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