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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday September 16 to Thursday September 23

The Full Moon is Thursday September 23. Mars, Venus and Spica form a triangle in the sky. Jupitet is at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on Tuesday September 21. On September 22 and 23 the Moon is close to Jupiter. Jupiter and Uranus are seen close together in binoculars and telescopes. Earth is at Equinox on September 23.

Evening sky looking East as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm on Tuesday September 21 showing Jupiter close to Uranus. Jupiter is at opposition at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Full Moon is Thursday September 23.

Jupiter rises before midnight, and can be readily seen from about 7:30 pm local time just above the eastern horizon. During the week you can see bright Jupiter rising low in the east while Venus is still in the west.

Jupiter is at opposition this week on Tuesday September 21, when it is at its biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Now is a good time to look at it in a telescope. Uranus is also at opposition

Approximate field of view through 10x50 binoculars on September 21 showing Jupiter and Uranus.

Jupiter and Uranus are close together and can be seen near each other in a pair of binoculars. Uranus is the brightest object within a binocular field north of Jupiter, and is in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions. A binocular spotters map is here.

Between the 16th and 21st of Spetember, Jupiter and Uranus can be seen together in low power telescope eyepieces. After this they drift apart again. Jupiter is still visible in the early morning in the north-western sky as the brightest object low above the horizon.

Io about to exit the face of Jupiter at 20:25 ACST (2o:55 AEST).

Jupiters Moons are a great delight whether you have binoculars or a telescope. On Tuesday 21 September, there is not only the opposition, but there is a transit and shadow transit of Io as well.

By the time Jupiter is high enough in the sky to see in a telescope, Io and its shadow will be already on the face of Jupiter. To see Io and its shadow on Jupiter you will need a fairly decent telescope, but even in small telescopes you will see Io emerge at 20:56 (AEST) or 20:26 (ACST).
When Io has exited, the great red spot makes its way across Jupiters' disk about an hour later .

There are lots of opportunities in the rest of the month to see cool Jupiter Moon events (scroll down until you hit Jupiter).

Evening sky looking North-west showing the Venus, Mars, and Spica at 7:00 pm local time on Monday September 20. Click to embiggen.

Bright white Venus is readily visible above the western horizon from half an hour after Sunset, (even before) until past the end of twilight (about an hour and a half after sunset).

Venus is in Virgo the Virgin, close to Mars and not far from the bright star Spica (alpha Virginis) forming a triangle. Venus rises higher during the week, and is a visible crescent in small telescopes.

Mars is distinguishable by its reddish colouring and is the brightest object below Venus not far above Spica. During the week Mras and Venus come closer.

Saturn is now lost in the twilight.

If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums. Jupiter is well worth telescopic observation, and even in binoculars its Galilean moons are easily seen.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


Thanks Ian,

Arrived on this page by google.
As a layman that was a very ez read. Had a look outside and now very tempted to buy some Binos for the tomorrow
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