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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

 

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

The  First Quarter Moon is Friday, January 3. Earth is at perihelion on the 5th. Venus is prominent in the evening sky visible well after the of twilight. Mars is visible in the morning twilight and enters the head of Scorpius the Scorpion. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dimming.

The  First Quarter Moon is Friday, January 3. The Moon is at apogee when it is furthest from the Earth on January the 2nd. Earth is at perihelion, when it is closest to the Sun, on the 5th.

Sky at 21:38 ACDST on Saturday, January 4 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide.





Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.

Morning sky at 5:01 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Saturday, January 4, 60 minutes before sunrise.

Mars is low above the horizon and passes into the head of Scorpius the scorpion. It is close to the bright star Acrab on the 8th and 9th.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Evening sky looking north-east at 22:18 ACDST on Saturday, January 4 (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star below the "saucepan" of Orion. Red Aldebaran is almost the same height above the horizon as red Betelgeuse, making brightness comparisons easy.

Betelgeuse is a red giant star which forms a distinctive part of the Constellation of Orion. It is a variable star, with small fluctuations in brightness not visible to the casual observer.

Betelgeuse has dimmed substantially and is now even dimmer than last week, reportedly between magnitude 1.5-1.7, it is visibly dimmer than magnitude 1 Aldebaran and roughly as bright as Bellatrix The next brightest star just to the north of Betelgeuse. Keep an eye on this historic dimming event, observing hints and stars for magnitude estimation are given here. Towards the end of the week, the waxing moon will make it more difficult to estimate Belegeuses brightness.

Venus is prominent above the western horizon in the early evening sky. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Mercury is low in the evening twilight but will be difficult to see this month.

Jupiter is lost in the twilight glow but will enter the morning sky later this month.

Mars is visible in the morning twilight. It enters the head of the scorpion, Scorpius, this week.

Saturn is lost in the twilight.


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.




Star Map via Virtual sky. Use your mouse to scroll around and press 8 when your pointer is in the map to set to current time.

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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