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Monday, January 25, 2021

 

Thursday January 28 to Thursday February 4

The Full Moon is Friday January 29. The bright planet Venus is low in the twilight morning skies. Mercury is low in the twilight skies. Dimming but still bright Mars now dominates the evening skies.

The Full Moon is Friday January 29. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the earth, on Thursday the 4th.

Whole sky at 22:01 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset), on
Saturday, January 30
as seen from 
Adelaide.



 

 

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

Evening sky at 22:01 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Saturday, January 30 facing north-west as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon with Uranus nearby.

 
 
 
 
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
 
 
Morning sky on Saturday, January 30 showing the eastern sky as seen from Adelaide  at 6:05 am ACDST (30 minutes before sunrise). Venus is getting lower to the horizon. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon to see this.  


  
 
 
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.


Mercury is lost in the twilight.  It will return to the morning sky later in February.

Venus is still visible low above the horizon in the morningYou 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. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon.
   
Jupiter is lost in the twilight.
 
 Saturn is lost in the twilight. 
 
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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Monday, January 18, 2021

 

Thursday January 21 to Thursday January 28

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday January 21, this is an apogee First Quarter Moon. The bright planet Venus is low in the twilight morning skies. Mercury is low in the twilight skies. Dimming but still bright Mars now dominates the evening skies. On the 21st Mars is near the First Quarter moon, with Uranus in between.

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday January 21, this is an apogee First Quarter Moon, where the moon is furthest from the Earth.It will be interesting to compare this last quarter Moon with the Perigee First quarter Moon of November 19 and December 19.


Evening sky at 20:58 ACDST (30 minutes after sunset) on
Saturday, January 23 facing west as seen from Adelaide. Mercury is low in the twilight above the horizon.
 
You will need a level, unobstructed horizon to see Mercury.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.


Whole sky at 22:08 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset), on
Saturday, January 23
as seen from 
Adelaide.



 

 

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

Evening sky at 22:10 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, January 21 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and is just below the apogee First Quarter moon. Uranus is between the pair, in binoculars, Uranus is the brightest object aide from Mars and the Moon in the binocular field. The inset shows the approximate binocular field of view for 10x50 binoculars. 

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
 
 
Morning sky on Saturday, January 23 showing the eastern sky as seen from Adelaide  at 5:58 am ACDST (30 minutes before sunrise). Venus is getting lower to the horizon. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon to see this.  


  
 
 
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.


Mercury is low in the twilight.  You will need a level, unobstructed horizon like the ocean to see this.

Venus is still visible low above the horizon in the morningYou 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. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and on the 21st is just below the apogee First Quarter moon with Uranus between the pair.
   
Jupiter is lost in the twilight.
 
 Saturn is lost in the twilight. 
 
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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Saturday, January 16, 2021

 

Mars close to Uranus (15-27 January, 2021)

Evening sky at 22:14 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Saturday, January 16 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon. Uranus is within a binocular field of Mars.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
Evening sky at 22:11 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Tuesday, January 19 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object aside from the Moon above the north-western horizon. Uranus is just above Mars,
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
<- td="">Evening sky at 22:10 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, January 21 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and is just below the apogee First Quarter moon. Uranus is between the pair, in binoculars, Uranus is the brightest object aide from Mars and the Moon in the binocular field.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
Approximate binocular view of Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Saturday, January 16, click to embiggen.Approximate binocular view of Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Tuesday, January 19, click to embiggen.Approximate binocular view of apogee First Quarter Moon, Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Thursday, January 21, click to embiggen.

From now until roughly January 27 will be a good time to view Uranus.  Although Uranus is bright enough to be (just) visible to the naked eye at magnitude 5.7, finding it can be quite difficult. Over the next few days we have a very bright signpost, Mars, to guide us. Between now and Wednesday 27 January Mars will be within binocular distance of Uranus. On the 21st, Uranus will be between Mars and the Moon, and within a wide field telescope objective field of view from Mars. With a telescope you should see Uranus as a tiny disk.

 During this time Uranus is the brightest object aside from the star 19 Arietis (which is approximately as bright as Uranus) in the constellation of Aires, the Ram) and of course the Moon, within binocular  range of Mars, but Uranus is easily distinguished as it is above Mars.

Binocular Spotter map suitable for printing (click it to embiggen and print) shows the nights Mars is within binocular range of Uranus (the large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars the small the field of view of a 30mm telescope lens). Use the chart with a red light (or a torch with red cellophane over the end) so as not to interrupt your night vision.

The 21st is also the night of the apogee First Quarter moon, so you might like to try your hand at imaging Mars and Uranus.

 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 

2021: From "Super" Moon to "Mini" Moon and back, a year of full Moons

Full Moon January 29, 0:500 AEST
Full Moon February 27 18:00. Minimum libration -30hFull Moon March 29 05:00 AEST, Perigee +35h March 10.
Full Moon April 27 14:00, perigee April 28 + 11h

Full Moon May 26 21:00, perigee May 26 -9h
Total Lunar Eclipse. 21:10
Full Moon June 25 05:00, perigee June 23 -24h
Full Moon July 24 13:00.

Full Moon August 22 22:00. Maximum Libration +24 hFull Moon September 21 10:00.
Full Moon October 21 01:00, Full Moon November 19 19:00, apogee +41h. Twilight Partial Lunar eclipseFull Moon December 19 15:00 Moon at apogee 18th -26h

 A year of full Moons showing the variation in size as the moons move from perigee to apogee. All the moons are shown on the day and time (AEST) they are full (unless they are below the horizon, in which case the size at astronomical twilight is shown), and although this is not the optimal time for size comparisons, you can clearly see the size difference over the year (compare April 27 to November 19) the original scale for all is 2 degrees of field of view cropped down to about two lunar diameters width). Although the field rotation of the Moon makes it less clear, you can also see the effect of libration.

In 2021 we have two good Perigee Moon is a row (April 27, May 26). One of which is a total Lunar Eclipse Moon (May 26). However, as you can see the differences are subtle, and it requires a keen eye and good memory to distinguish a perigee "super" Moon from more ordinary moons, the best contrast is with the apogee "mini" moons of November 19/December 19).

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try though. Daniel Fischer has been able to see the difference, you can read his account and viewing tips here
http://earthsky.org/space/can-you-discern-supermoons-large-size-with-the-eye-an-observer-says-yes

Photographing them can be more rewarding. You can see images of perigee Moon and apogee Moon pairs from 21 Jan 2019 here and 10 August 2014 here.Tips for photographing them are here.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

 

Apogee (mini) and Perigee (super) First Quarter Moons

This years apogee and perigee First Quarter Moons. Apogee FQ is on January 21st at 11 pm AEST (not 11am as on the diagram), and official First Quarter is at 7 am AEST, 13 hours apart.  Perigee FQ is further apart, official first quarter is at 1 am on the August 16th, and Perigee on the August 17th at 7 pm, 1 day and 18 hours apart. 

Because the Moons orbit is elliptical, there are times when it is  furthest from the Earth (apogee) and closest to the Earth (perigee). At these time the Moon is different in size as seen from Earth, the difference is subtle to the unaided eye, but readily seen in binoculars or telescope.

Until recently most people didn't give perigee and apogee Moons a second thought, but after they were invoked in some pseudoscience waffle, they were co-opted by the astronomical community to get people more interested in the sky, with perigee Full Moons becoming "Super" Moons.  

Of course, the "Super Moon" (and "mini" apogee moon)  focuses on the really obvious full Moon, but the other moon phase can occur at perigee and apogee too. Of course you can't see either a perigee or apogee new Moon (unless there is a total Solar Eclipse or annular solar eclipse from an apogee New Moon) and no one want's to get up at Dark O'Clock to see a Last Quarter Perigee or apogee Moon. But first Quarter? 

Ahh that's a different story. 

Last quarter Moons are relatively high in the sky at sunset, so you don't have to wait a while for the moon to get high enough to dispel the Moon Illusion so you don't confuse the illusion with the Moon's true size. Also, unlike the full moon, where there are no shadows and everything is a bit bland (if beautiful). 

But the First Quarter Moon is more dramatic, with the shadows of the terminator bringing out the walls of the craters and the mountain peaks. Of course this is not all visible to the unaided eye, but in binoculars or even a small telescope the view is beautiful and reveals the size difference between the apogee and perigee Moon more easily. 

This year the First Quarter Perigee is a bit over a day and a half after First Quarter 16th and 17th August), but still not bad, and apogee and First Quarter is only 13 hours apart (upcoming at 21 January). Next year the pairing is March 10 apogee, November 1 perigee.

Anyway, try your hand at discerning the size difference between the upcoming apogee First Quarter Moon and the August perigee First Quarter Moon. Tips for photographing them are here.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

 

Thursday January 14 to Thursday January 21

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday January 21, this is an apogee First Quarter Moon. The bright planet Venus is low in the twilight morning skies. Jupiter Mercury and Saturn are very low in the twilight skies. The Moon is close to the trio on the 14th but this conjunction will be difficult to see. Dimming but still bright Mars now dominates the evening skies. On the 21st Mars is near the First Quarter moon, with Uranus in between.

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday January 21, this is an apogee First Quarter Moon, where the moon is furthest from the Earth.It will be interesting to compare this last quarter Moon with the Perigee First quarter Moon of November 19 and December 19.


Evening sky at 21:02 ACDST (30 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, January 14 facing west as seen from Adelaide. The pair of Jupiter and Saturn are very low above the western horizon in the twilight and are joined by Mercury and the thin crescent Moon.
You will need a level, unobstructed horizon like the ocean to see this.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.


Whole sky at 22:13 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset), on Saturday, January 16 as seen from 
Adelaide.



 

 

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

Evening sky at 22:10 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, January 21 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and is just below the apogee First Quarter moon. Uranus is between the pair, in binoculars, Uranus is the brightest object aide from Mars and the Moon in the binocular field. The inset shows the approximate binocular field of view for 10x50 binoculars. 

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
 
 
Morning sky on
Saturday, January 16 showing the eastern sky as seen from Adelaide  at 5:50 am ACDST (30 minutes before sunrise). Venus is getting lower to the horizon. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon to see this.  


  
 
 
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.


Mercury is low in the twilight. close to Jupiter and Saturn this week. On Thursday, January 14 they are joined by the thin crescent Moon. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon like the ocean to see this.

Venus is still visible low above the horizon in the morningYou 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. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and on the 21st is just below the apogee First Quarter moon with Uranus between the pair.
   
Jupiter can be seen in very low in early evening twilight sky in the west. Jupiter is near Saturn and the pair are  lowering in the twilight and become progressively harder to see. They are joined by Mercury mid week. On the 14th the trio are joined by the thin crescent Moon. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon like the ocean to see this.
 
 Saturn too is (barely) visible low in early evening twilight sky in the west. after the 14th it will be lost in the twilight. 
 
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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