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Monday, February 10, 2020

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 13 to Thursday February 20

The  Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, February 16. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight. Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is visible in below the body of Scorpius the Scorpion moving through the heart of the Milky Way. Mars is between the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae on the 18th and 19th. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.  Jupiter is visible below Mars and above Saturn. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter on the 20th. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim but may brighten.

The  Last Quarter Moon is Sunday, February 16. 


Sky at 21:09 ACDST on Saturday, February 15 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky. The inset shows the telescopic view at this time.





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


Morning sky at 5:55 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Tuesday, February 18, 60 minutes before sunrise.

Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars is now well above the horizon and is below the body of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars is in some interesting binocular territory as it crosses the milky way.

On the 17th to 19th Mars crosses between the triffid and lagoon Nebulae. The inset is the binocular view of Mars and the nebulae on the 18th, when the grouping is at its most spectacular. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.

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


Morning sky at 5:00 ACDST facing east as seen from Adelaide on Thursday, February 20, .


Jupiter is well above the horizon and Saturn appears below it. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width, and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces. The inset is the wide field view at 5:00 AM ACST, when Jupiter and the Moon are closest

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (eg 5:00 Sydney/Melbourne, 4:30 Brisbane) .


Evening sky looking north at 21:42 ACDST on Saturday, February 15 (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 reportedly around magnitude 1.6, 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. The waning moon will  not substantially interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuse' brightness during the week. It is suggested that Betelgeuse may begin brightening again soon, so keep an eye out.

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 lost in the twilight.

Three bright planets are visible in the morning sky.

 Mars is visible high in the morning twilight. It is below the scorpion, Scorpius, this week.On the 17th to 19th Mars crosses between the triffid and lagoon Nebulae. Mars is close to the waning Moon on the 19th.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky. The Moon is spectacularly close to Jupiter (less than half a finger-width apart) on the 20th and the pair are easily visible together in binoculars or wide field telescope eyepieces.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning 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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