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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 2 to Thursday August 9

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, August 5.  Mercury is no longer visible in the evening sky but the remaining 4 bright unaided eye planets can be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky. Jupiter is past opposition, but is still big and bright in telescopes. Mars and Saturn are visible in the evening skies. Mars is just past opposition but is still bright and  big in even small telescopes.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, August 5.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday August 8 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:33 ACST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and close to the star beta Virginis. The inset shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus 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 towards the bright star Spica. On the 4th it passes close to the star Beta Virginis (Zavijava).

Evening sky on Saturday August 8 looking North  as seen from Adelaide at 19:03 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 22:49 ACST, Ganymede has just reappeared from eclipse and Europa has just reappeared from occultation. Io will undergo transit shortly after. Jupiter is  shown 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 August 8 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 19:03 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).
 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 towards the bright star Spica. On the 4th it passes close to the star Beta Virginis (Zavijava).

Mercury is lost in the twilight and will reapear in the morning skies later in the month.

Jupiter  is high the early evening sky. It was at Opposition on the May 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 18:00 local time (just before full dark). 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 readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition last month on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you may see a few features as the huge dust storm sweeping the planet subsides.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page.

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.

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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