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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

 

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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