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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 27 to Thursday March 5

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday, March 3. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight. Three bright planets are now visible in the morning skies. Mars heads towards the globular cluster M22 and Jupiter and is closest to M22 on February 29. Jupiter is visible below Mars and above Saturn. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim but seems to be brightening.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday, March 3.

Sky at 20:49 ACDST on Saturday, February 29 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky close to the thin crescent Moon. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.





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




Morning sky at 5:34 ACDST (90 minutes minutes before sunrise) facing east as seen from Adelaide on Saturday, February 29.

Three bright planets are dominating the morning skies. Mars is at its closest to the globular cluster M22 at this time. The inset is the telescopic view through a 24 mm eyepiece of a 4" Newtonian. Jupiter is well above the horizon and Saturn appears below it.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes minutes before sunrise) .


Evening sky looking north at 21:20 ACDST on Saturday, February 29 (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 has been reported to begin brightening again soon, so keep watching this iconic star.

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 reached a minimum of around magnitude 1.6, but is now brightening again. It is still 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 waxing moon will not interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuses' brightness during the week.

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 dominate in the morning sky.

 Mars is visible high in the morning sky. Mars comes closer to the globular cluster M22 and Jupiter during the week. Mars is closest to M22 on the 29th.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky below Jupiter.


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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