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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

 

Thursday December 17 to Thursday December 24

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday December 22. The bright planet Venus is low in the twilight morning skies.  Three bright planets dominate the early evening sky with Mars, Jupiter and Saturn making the evening twilight skies stunning. Jupiter and Saturn form a spectacular thin triangle with the crescent Moon on the 17th, followed by an even more spectacular rare conjunction when the pair will seem to merge on the 21st, the solstice.The waxing Moon is near Mars on the 23rd and 24th.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday December 22. The Earth is at Solstice, when the day is longest, on the 21st.

Evening sky at 21:33 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, December 17 facing west as seen
from Adelaide. The pair of Jupiter and Saturn are above the western horizon close to the thin crescent Moon.  The pair are visibly closer now, and fit within a wide-field telescope eyepiece, heading for their spectacular meeting next week.

 The insets show the telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn at the same magnification at this time.

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

 Evening sky at 21:35 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset) on Monday, December 21 facing west as seen from Adelaide. The pair of Jupiter and Saturn are above the western horizon in a spectacular meeting.  The pair are almost impossible to tell apart and may look like a single object. The pair fit within a narrow-field telescope eyepiece field of view.

 The insets show the telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn at the same magnification at this time.

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

Whole sky at 21:34 ACDST  (60 minutes after sunset), on Saturday, December 19 as seen from
Adelaide.


Three bright planets are visible stretching west to east. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

 Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset). click to embiggen.


Evening sky at 22:17 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on  Wednesday, December 23 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is above the northern horizon near the waxing Moon. Mars is past opposition, but is still excellent. more details here

 
 
 
The inset shows the telescopic view of Mars at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
 

Morning sky on Saturday, December 19 showing the eastern sky as seen from Adelaide at 5:06 am ACDST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is getting lower to the horizon. You may need a level, unobstructed horizon to see this. 

The left inset is the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.


Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Venus is still visible low above the horizon in the morning. You may need a level, unobstructed horizon to see Venus. 

Mars is readily visible in the evening sky above the north-western horizon in the early evening. The waxing Moon is near Mars on the 23rd and 24th. Mars was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on October the 14th, but is still worthwhile observing. Observing details and more at the Mars Opposition site. Mars.
  
Jupiter can be readily seen in the early evening sky in the west. Jupiter and Saturn start out two finger-widths apart at the beginning of the week but slowly draw closer heading for their spectacular meeting next week. The pair are prominent in the early evening skies along with Mars.On the 17th the thin crescent Moon meets up with the pair. All three objects can fit into a binocular field, and Jupiter and Saturn fit into the field of view of a wide field telescope eyepiece. On the 21st there is an even more spectacular rare conjunction when the pair will seem to merge on the 21st, the date of the solstice. This is the first time Jupiter and Saturn have been this close in around 400 years.
 
 Saturn too is visible in the early evening skies in the west and is also still an excellent sight as it comes closer to Jupiter.
 
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.




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