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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday June 28 to Thursday July 5

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 early evening skies and is close to the Beehive cluster on July 4. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 28th. Mars is close to the Moon on the 30th and July 1st. Asteroid Vesta  is  potentially visible to the unaided eye.

The Full Moon is Thursday, June 28. The Moon is at apogee on the 30th, when it is furthest from the Earth.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday June 30 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:14 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above Mercury and close to the bright star Regulus in Leo. The inset shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus and Mercury as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece (compare with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars).

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 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 comes closer to the bright star Regulus. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is in the outskirts of the Beehive cluster on July 4th.



Binocular scale view of the evening twilight sky on Wednesday July 4 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:14 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Mercury is in the Beehive cluster.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).












Evening sky on Saturday June 30 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:45 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae. Saturn is well above the horizon. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars (and may be visible to the unaided eye) near Saturn.

The insets are a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons and Saturn as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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

Evening sky on Saturday June 30 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST. Mars is clearly visible and is close to the waning Moon. The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Mars 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 Saturday June 30 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 bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is well above the open cluster M23 just over and up from the iconic and easily recognisable Trifid nebula. It is brighter than most of the stars nearby, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta  is just over from the Trifid Nebula and near the star theta Ophicii.

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and to well past 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is two and a half hand-spans above the horizon. Over the week Venus heads towards the bright star Regulus.

Mercury climbs higher the evening skies late this week. It is visible close below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is in the outskirts of the Beehive cluster on July 4th.

Jupiter  is high the early evening sky. 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 20:30 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).

 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 still sweeping the planet. Mars is close to the Moon on the 30th and July 1st.

Saturn is climbing higher the evening sky, and is now a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was 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. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 28th.

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 5.5 and could possibly be visible from suburban sites. It is also easily seen in binoculars. It is travelling above the open cluster M23. It is brighter than most of the stars nearby, but you may need to watch over several nights to watch it move. Vesta 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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