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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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