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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 16 to Thursday August 23

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday, August 18.  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. The Moon visits Jupiter on the 17th. Jupiter is closest to the bright star alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) between the 16th and 19th. Saturn and  Mars are visible in the evening skies and are visited by the waxing Moon on the 21st ad 23rd respectively. Mars is just past opposition but is still bright and big in even small telescopes.

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday, August 18. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 23rd.

Evening twilight sky on Saturday August 18 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:12 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Venus is high above the horizon and coming closer to Spica. 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 (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until well after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well after 90 minutes after sunset. During the week Venus moves further towards the bright star Spica.

Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday August 18 as seen from Adelaide at 19:12 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Four bright planets and the waxing Moon are 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 Friday August 17 looking North  as seen from Adelaide at 19:12 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is well above the horizon, close to the bright star alpha Librae and close to the waxing Moon.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 19:12 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). 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 Tuesday August 21 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 19:14 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible with the waxing Moon close to Saturn. 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 closer to the bright star Spica.

Mercury is deep in the twilight in the morning skies and very difficult to see.

Jupiter  is high in the early evening sky above the northern horizon. 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 17:15 local time before the Sun sets. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week. This week Jupiter is coming closer 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 continues to subside.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page. The Moon is close to Mars on the 23rd.

Saturn is climbing higher the early 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  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae. However the increasing Moon light makes seen these nebula more difficult, especially on the 21st, when the waxing Moon is close to Saturn.

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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