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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 14 to Thursday February 21

The Full Moon is Wednesday, February 20. Perigee ("super") Moon on the 19th/20th. Mars is visible low in the evening skies. Venus is bright in the morning sky with Jupiter above it and Saturn below. Saturn comes closer to Venus over the week and the pair are closest on the 19th. Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) is be bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars early in the week.

The Full Moon is Wednesday, February 20. This is a perigee ("super") Moon on the 19th/20th. This year Perigee on Feb 19 will be 6 hours from Full (which occurs at around 2 am in the morning of the 20th) and the full Moon of Sep 13 will be 15 hours from apogee, giving a somewhat better contrast than the perigee Moon of Jan 21 (14 hours between perigee and full). This year (Feb/Sep) is the best pairing until 2032.

Morning twilight sky on Tuesday, February 19 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:20 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is high in the morning sky above the pair of Venus and Saturn below it. At this time Venus and Saturn are at their closest. The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. the lower left insert shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at the same scale and the lower right that of Saturn.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).
 
Evening sky on  Saturday, February 16 as seen looking north-west from Adelaide at 21:40 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon.Uranus is visible in binoculars not far away.

The Pleiades and Hyades also grace the north-western sky.

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



Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north from Adelaide at midnight ACDST on Saturday, February 16, when the comet is highest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

C/2018 Y1 is a "bright" comet that should be readily visible in binoculars at its brightest. Sadly, it is best seen around midnight, but is well placed for Australian viewers. Unfortunately the moon now begins to interfere with the comets visibility.

More details and black and white charts suitable for printing are here.



Chart comparing the binocular/telescopic appearance of the February 20 2019  Full Perigee Moon with the apogee Moon of  September 13 2019 .

This year Perigee on Feb 19 will be 6 hours from Full (which occurs at around 2 am in the morning of the 20th) and the full Moon of Sep 13 will be 15 hours from apogee, giving a somewhat better contrast than the perigee Moon of Jan 21 (14 hours between perigee and full). This year (Feb/Sep) is the best pairing until 2032.

What can you expect to see with the "Super Moon" of  January 21 ?

Not much really, unless you are a regular observer of the Moon, have good visual acuity and a good memory.

The problem is, while the Moon is close this time around, it doesn't actually translate into something you can easily see with your unaided eye. Mondays Full Moon will be around 14% larger and 30% brighter than September's apogee Full Moon.So unless you have a good memory, you won't see much (but it will be a good opportunity to photograph the full Moon, then again in September and compare the images like I did for the Jan 21 perigee Moon).

 Venus is bright in the morning skies below Jupiter. Venus is close to a number of interesting clusters, Venus is initially within a binocular field of the the beautiful globular cluster M22 but rapidly moves away. Saturn is coming closer to Venus, and the pair are closest on the 19th.

Mercury  is lost in the twilight

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading away from Venus.

Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets just before 11pm. Mars is coming moving away from Uranus but the pair can still be seen in a binocular field early in the week.

Saturn is climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus. The pair are closest on the 19th.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. 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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