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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 19 to Thursday July 26

The First Quarter Moon is Friday, July 20.  All 5 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky. Mercury begins to sink towards the horizon in early evening skies. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. The Moon is close to Jupiter on the 21st. Rapidly brightening Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. The Moon is close to Saturn on the 25th. Asteroid Vesta  is visible in binoculars.

The First Quarter Moon is Friday, July 20.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday July 21 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:24 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above Mercury with the bright star Regulus between. 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).

Brilliant Venus is now visible in the 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 moves further away from the bright star Regulus. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab and into Leo. By midweek Mercury, Regulus and Venus from a line with Regulus almost in the middle between the two planets. By the end of the week Mercury starts to sink towards the horizon.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday July 21 as seen from Adelaide at 18:55 ACST (just after 90 minutes after sunset). all five bright planets are visible in the evening sky (a better view will be had slightly earlier though).

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






Evening sky on Saturday July 21 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:55 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is  well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae. The Moon is close to Jupiter at this time. Saturn is high above the horizon and Mars is now well above the horizon as well. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars near Saturn.

The insets are a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 20:04 ACST, Io is crossing the face of Jupiter and Europa is just reappearing from eclipse. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are shown aas as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

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

Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open clusters M24, M23 and Vesta on Saturday July 21  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 too dim to be seen with the unaided eye but is easily seen in binoculars. It is 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 (𝚹) 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. During the week Venus moves away from the bright star Regulus.

Mercury climbs higher the evening skies late this week. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab and into Leo. By midweek Mercury, Regulus and Venus from a line with Regulus almost in the middle between the two planets. By the end of the week Mercury starts to sink towards the horizon.

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 19:30 local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is still close to the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi). On the 21st the Moon is close to Jupiter.

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the evening, although best telescopically in the morning. Mars is rapidly brightening ahead of opposition later this month 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.

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 June 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. The Moon is close to Saturn on the 25th.

Vesta is  nw only visible in binoculars or telescopes. It was at opposition on June the 20th, when it was magnitude 5.3, and this week should be around magnitude 60-6.1. It is easily seen in binoculars.  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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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday July 12 to Thursday July 19

The New Moon is Friday, July 13.  All 5 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is close to the crescent Moon on the 16th. Mercury climbs higher in early evening skies and is close to the crescent Moon on the 15th. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Rapidly brightening Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. Asteroid Vesta  is visible in binoculars.

The New Moon is Friday, July 13. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth on the 13th.

Evening twilight sky on Monday July 16  looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:22 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above Mercury and close to the thin crescent Moon. 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 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 moves away from the bright star Regulus. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 16th. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is close to the crescent Moon on the 15th.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Sunday July 15 as seen from Adelaide at 18:52 ACST (just after 90 minutes after sunset). all five bright planets are (just) visible in the evening sky.

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







Evening sky on Saturday July 14 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:52 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.Mars is now above the horizon as well.

The insets are a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece. At this time Io and its shadow are moving across the face of Jupiter.

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

Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open clusters M24, M23 and Vesta on Saturday July14  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. During the week Venus moves away from the bright star Regulus. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 16th.

Mercury climbs higher the evening skies late this week. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is close to the crescent Moon on the 15th.

Jupiter  is high the early evening sky. It was at Opposition on June 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 19:30 local time. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is still close to the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi).

 Mars is in Capricornius and is now rising in the evening, although best telescopically in the morning. Mars is rapidly brightening ahead of opposition later this month 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.

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 June 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  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 5.7. It is 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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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

 

Observing the Opposition of Mars, 2018

Evening sky on Friday June 27 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:59 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Mars is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This is the best opposition since 2003. Saturn and Mars are clearly visible and the Moon is near Mars.

The inset to the left is a simulated telescopic view of Mars.

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

This is the best opposition of Mars since 2003. You don't need a telescope or complicated imaging equipment to observe Mars, although a telescope or binoculars helps. Significant improvements in mobile phones means you can now image Mars with your mobile Phone and a telescope. Mars is really bright now, and will get brighter. To prepare you for this significant event, I have prepared this guide of observing the opposition of Mars with spotting guides and observing hints. 

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Southern Skywatch July 2018 edition is now out!

Evening sky on Friday June 27 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:59 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Mars is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This is the best opposition since 2003. Saturn and Mars are clearly visible and the Moon is near Mars.

The inset to the left is a simulated telescopic view of Mars.

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

The July edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

This month still sees all five of the bright planets in the evening sky. Speedy Mercury is prominent in the evening sky early in the month, Venus and Jupiter are prominent in the evening sky and Mars and Saturn rise higher in the evening sky. Mars at Opposition and a total lunar eclipse with an apogee "mini moon".


Mercury close to the Beehive cluster on the 4th.

Venus is close to the bright star Regulus on the 10th. 

Jupiter is close to alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) at the beginning of the month and the Moon on the 21st.

 Mars is at opposition on the 27th, this is the best opposition since 2003. More details at my Mars opposition site.

Saturn is within a binocular field of the globular cluster M22 and the Trifid Nebula this month.

Vesta is  visible in binoculars.

July 15, crescent Moon near Mercury; July16, crescent Moon near Venus.

July 21; Moon close to Jupiter. June 1-3, July 28-30; Mars, Saturn  and Moon close

July 13, Moon at Perigee; July 27, Moon at Apogee. 

July 28, total lunar eclipse in the morning.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday July 5 to Thursday July 12

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday, July 6.  All 5 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky and is close to the bright star Regulus on the 10th. Mercury climbs higher in early evening skies. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Mars and Saturn are visible in the late evening skies. Asteroid Vesta  is visible in binoculars.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday, July 6. The Earth is at aphelion, when it is furthest from the Sun, on the 7th.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday July 7  looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:16 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) and the positions of Venus and Regulus on the 10th..

 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 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 and is closest on the 10th. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is near the Beehive cluster on July 5th but moves away after this.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Thursday July 10 as seen from Adelaide at 18:50 ACST (just after 90 minutes after sunset). all five bright planets are (just) visible in the evening sky.

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







Evening sky on Saturday July 7 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 18:46 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 July 7 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST. Mars is clearly visible. 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 July 7 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 and is cloest on the 10th.

Mercury climbs higher the evening skies late this week. Mercury is visible below Venus passing through the constellation of Cancer the crab. It is near the Beehive cluster on July 5th but moves away after this.

Jupiter  is high the early evening sky. It was at Opposition on June 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 19:30 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 month 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.

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 June 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  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 5.6. It is 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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