Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Sky This Week - Thursday August 13 to Thursday August 20
Evening sky looking west at 6:30 pm local time on August 17. Click to embiggen.
The Last Quarter Moon is Friday August 14, the New Moon is Thursday August 20.
Mercury is now easily visible in the western evening twilight. Mercury rises rapidly in the sky, meeting Saturn on the 17th (see diagram left).
Saturn is visible in the early evening and can be easily seen as the third brightest object above the north-western horizon, Mercury is now brighter. Saturn sets around 8:00 pm local time, making telescopic viewing of Saturn difficult. Saturns rings are nearly edge on now.
Jupiter is easily seen as the brightest object above the eastern horizon from around 6 pm local time. Jupiter will be at opposition, where it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, this week, on Saturday August 15. If you don't have a telescope to view Jupiter, why not go to one of your local Astronomical Societies or Planetariums open nights? Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope. On Sunday August 16 has an interesting alignment of Moons.
Mars, Venus, Moon, Aldebaran, Pleiades and Hyades at 6:00 am local time on Tuesday morning August 18, click to embiggen.
In the morning, Venus and Mars are readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars (which will not be as big as the full Moon this month) is below the A-shaped Hyades cluster and forms a triangle with two bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelguese in Orion. Bright white Venus is coming closer to the horizon, but is still readily visible. Between Sunday 16t August and Tuesday 18 August the crescent Moon lines up with Mars and Venus.
The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on the morning of Thursday August 13. This is visible from northern Australia (see details here)
Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm, Western sky at 10 pm. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Labels: weekly sky